Universities in Scotland are offering free places for care-leavers in a bid to increase the number of students going into college education.
A Universities Scotland announcement said that 18 higher education institutions have backed the initiative, but care-leavers must meet minimum entry requirements to be guaranteed of free spaces. The move is expected to affect those seeking to take up an undergraduate place at universities from autumn of next year.
“In the face of this substantial inequality, we feel it is only right to recognise the achievement of people with experience of care who succeed in reaching minimum entry requirements,” a spokesperson for Universities Scotland said.
Gap in educational attainment high
Universities Scotland said there was a significant gap in the educational attainment of people with experience of care.
Just 12 percent of “looked after” school-leavers have achieved at least one Higher or equivalent qualification compared to 62 percent of all school leavers. At present, only 4 percent of looked after school leavers go directly into higher education, as compared with 41 percent of all school leavers.
“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,” Glasgow Caledonian University Principal Pamela Gillies said.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that universities across Scotland recognise the importance of those who have had an experience of care and the huge potential they have,” she added.
Free places for care-leavers to encourage more into education
Meanwhile, University of St Andrews Principal Sally Mapstone said that she hoped the initiative will enable more people with experience to take up college education confidently, knowing that their application is encouraged and will be supported.
Iain MacRitchie, founder of MCR Pathways which provides mentors for care-experienced people, said: This new policy is a fantastic step towards widening access to Higher Education.”
Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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