Building on our values, and our commitment to delivering a positive impact with our local and global communities, we are working to ensure that students from a wide range of diverse backgrounds thrive and feel a sense of belonging at the University.
Widening Participation remains a key priority and we have begun a range of initiatives to support this. We continue to work to make sure that young people from all backgrounds are aware of our commitment, and of the choices available to them.
By seeking to build on current success the University launched its new Widening Participation Strategy this year, which underpins the belief that attracting students from a range of social, cultural and educational backgrounds enriches the educational experience for all.
This year the University has delivered against the initial Scottish Government Commission on Widening Access Target that 10 per cent of new full-time Scottish degree students are from so-called SIMD20 areas, the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland by 2021.The figures show that 195 of those accepted to the University this year are from these areas, representing 11 per cent of its intake of fulltime students from Scotland.
For the second year running, places on the widening access clearing scheme in Scotland were advertised in August 2018 and offered to applicants from the least affluent 20 percent of postcodes in Scotland. This meant that in 2017/18, we admitted more than eight per cent of our Scottish domiciled entrants from SIMD20 areas, an all-time high for the University.
Longstanding outreach programmes and a boost in scholarships, as well as increased support throughout the application process and students’ transition into the University, are credited as contributing factors towards the result.
The University has a long history of initiatives that aim to make higher education more accessible to people from economically challenged backgrounds. This year, it launched an access programme for part-time adult learners who wish to return to education to study humanities, social sciences or art and design.
A new schools partnership programme (YourEd), which will see the University work with an identified number of secondary and primary schools across Scotland to deliver long term, impactful outreach and curriculum enrichment programmes to targeted groups of students. Further plans will see the University work with the local college sector and further afield to establish more routes into the University for more college students.