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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Widening University Access for Care-Experienced People

Care-experienced people who meet minimum entry requirements will be guaranteed an offer of an undergraduate place at university, under a new commitment announced by Scotland’s universities.

This bold, sector-wide move will be in place for the next admissions cycle, starting this Autumn for people looking to start university in Autumn 2020 and is aimed at driving a significant increase in the number of care experienced people going to university.

The Open University did not participate in the announcement, as it does not have conventional entry requirements like other universities and so does not need to take this step to support access.

Universities’ decision to guarantee an offer to care experienced students who meet minimum entry requirements is informed by their belief in the importance of recognising the context in which care experienced applicants have achieved the entry qualifications needed for university.

The First Minister said:

“I warmly welcome this commitment to guarantee a place at university for care-experienced students who meet the new entry requirements.

“Education is by far the most effective means we have of improving the life chances of our young people. I am firmly committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring that all learners, regardless of their background, have an equal chance of entering university.

“It is important that every young person has access to the learning that will provide them with the skills and qualifications they need to meet their aspirations and succeed in life.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:

“The guarantee is based on a move by universities earlier this year to set new minimum entry requirements which now apply to applications from care experienced people and people living in the most deprived 20% of areas across Scotland, defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, known as SIMD20.

“This will have a profound positive impact on the lives of many young people across North Ayrshire who haven’t been fortunate and had the most stable start in life and so I welcome this move by Scotland’s universities.”

Duncan Dunlop, Who Cares? Scotland Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We welcome the guaranteed offer as it recognises that the barriers Care Experienced people face to accessing higher education can be felt lifelong. The fact that the guaranteed offer has no upper age limit demonstrates a commitment by universities to seek out ways to support Care Experienced learners beyond the statutory requirement of age 26.

“We will continue to consult with our members to fully understand the impact the guaranteed offer has, and will make, for them over the coming years and communicate this to Universities Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council and the SNP Government.

“The success of the guaranteed offer will not solely lie with individual institutions doing the right thing by Care Experienced people, but it will require a whole sector approach that sees Corporate Parents understanding the guaranteed offer, signposting university as a valid option and supporting Care Experienced people through the process to apply and succeed.”


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