The number of students studying full time for recognised college qualifications has grown by 22% since 2008-09. Figures published by the Scottish Funding Council on college performance show that in 2014-15, 23,717 students successfully completed such courses, the highest ever number. There were 119,078 funded full time equivalent students at college last year, over 3,000 more than the SNP Government target of 116,000.
Figures also released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show there are more Scottish-domiciled full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities compared to last year. Overall enrolments at Scottish institutions are up 1%, compared to a 2% drop in England. First degree qualifiers from Scottish universities are comparable to last year, compared to a 7% drop in England.
Kenneth Gibson said:
“Last year was a landmark for Scotland’s young people. A record 34,775 Scots-domiciled students were accepted to university. School and college leaver destinations have been very positive and youth employment is at its highest since 2008.
“A year ago also saw record qualification success in our colleges and these figures show continuing high standards across the board. The ambitious changes in our college system following a period of intensive reform ensure our colleges focus on economic growth, not least here in Ayrshire where the innovative Ayrshire College continues to go from strength to strength.
“Compared to 2007, the number of learning hours delivered to students with a disability has increased considerably, as has the average hours of learning per student and learning hours delivered on courses leading to a recognised qualification, additional study, relevant training or work. We have again exceeded targets on full time equivalent college student numbers.
“University student numbers complement our continuing delivery of free tuition for Scottish undergraduate students, sparing them from the additional debt incurred by paying fees. When compared to a 2% drop in English domiciled enrolments at English universities and a 7% drop in first degree qualifiers in England, the HESA figures clearly show a strong performance for students in Scotland.
"As highlighted in last month’s draft budget, we will continue to invest heavily in further and higher education to ensure Scotland remains a world class place to study.”