More Scottish Students Than Ever In Scotland’s Universities

In the Scotsman today, on the front page, we have:

Warning of ‘geopolitial risk’ as Scottish Government figures show jump in international students. The Scottish Government is facing a ‘geopolitical risk’ in relying on foreign students to subsidise universities, Universities Scotland has warned, as new figures show the number of people studying in Scotland from outside Europe rocketed by more than a third in the past year. The latest Higher Education Student Statistics found that the number of non-European Union students from overseas rose by 37.1 per cent to 65,300 in the last academic year.

The story has been picked up elsewhere and run passively when it’s just part of a campaign by over-paid university principals to get more money from the taxpayer for an alleged funding gap between the the £4 000 per year they get in fees and the £7 000 they claim it costs to teach them.

Pardon my scoffing but I worked in HE at all levels for more than 30 years and are they saying they can’t teach a class of say 25, typically attending classes for only a fraction of the time, for an income £100 000 per year? Nonsense. Try cutting a few costs in ballooning numbers of highly paid senior managers and their plush accommodation refurbished every time one retires on a package and another arrives on another package.

Not every news outlet seems to have their sense of reality determined by the Principals’ union. The Caithness Business Index seems to have been able to find much to be pleased about:

More Scottish Students Than Ever In Scotland’s Universities

19th January 2023

A record 183,025 studied at Scottish universities in 2021-22.

A record number of Scottish domiciled students have enrolled at the country’s universities.

The latest Higher Education Student Statistics show the number of Scottish domiciled students studying at Scotland’s universities rose from 180,170 in 2020-21 to 183,025 in 2021-22.

There was also a record number of full-time Scottish domiciled first degree entrants recorded, with 5,595 Scots from Scotland’s most deprived areas entering university. This is an 41% increase since the establishment of the Commission on Widening Access.

Scottish universities also saw a record number of students qualifying in 2021-22, increasing by over 13% – from 82,850 in 2020-21 to 93,775 a year later.

Higher and Further Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“It is hugely encouraging to see a record number of Scottish domiciled students taking advantage of the world-class universities on our doorstep. These figures demonstrate the continued strength of our university sector.

“We continue to make progress to widen access, with a record number of students from Scotland’s most deprived communities securing a place at university.

“We are committed to the principle that access to education should be based on the ability to learn. Every child growing up in Scotland should have an equal chance of attending university, regardless of their background and circumstances.

“The sharp drop in EU students coming to Scotland’s university is bitterly disappointing – an inevitable consequence of the UK Government’s hugely damaging Brexit.

“The Scottish Government has invested record amounts in student support over recent years, and we will keep working with universities to ensure this funding continues to pay dividends.”

The Higher Education Student Statistics 2021-22 show:

A record number of students enrolled at Scottish HEIs in 2021-22: an increase from last year of 6.5% (+18,355) to 301,230


10 thoughts on “More Scottish Students Than Ever In Scotland’s Universities

  1. Great find , well done, Scottish government are doing a great job making places for people at Scottish universities if they come from a poor background it’s heartening to see another increase in the number of Scottish people attending Scottish universities too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 30% from school.25% mature students. Scotland has lifelong learning. More universities pro rata. 15 – 5million+ population. The highest in the world. EU students + foreign students. The highest ratio in the world. Plus colleges and apprenticeship. The highest in the world. Loans and grants. Canada is next with 56%. US has 30/40% ratio for higher education/uni studies. Scotland has four year degrees. UK has three years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So, rather than highlighting the positive of ”more Scottish students ” OR the ”sharp drop in EU students ” because of Brexit ( and thus indirectly criticising the Westminster Neanderthals ) they prefer to take another positive and turn it into a negative .
    ”It’s being so cheerful keeps us going ” must be their motto !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Those from the care system get higher incentives. Accommodation and fees paid. Loans + grants. Diversity is more inclusive.For additional needs support. Still could be improved.

    Councils employ untrained classroom assistants. Instead of teachers which would keep class sizes down. Teachers could have higher remuneration. Teachers in Scotland have higher qualifications and remuneration on average. Councils (unionist) have shut down additional needs support and facilities. Spending funding on rejects f little value. Instead of supporting essential services. That should be the prime objective. Instead of wasting monies like there is no tomorrow against the public wishes.

    Scottish Gov funded increased nursery provision and increased funding for deprived places. Increased child funding for lower income households.

    It was Tory policy Brexit which ruined exchange facilities with EU students. Ruining the economy.


  5. The increase in non European students far out ways the loss of europeans though they still appear to be coming in significant numbers, these figures are of course 20/21, perhaps the fall in numbers are more significant over say the last 5 yrs.


  6. I may be old but I can still remember a time when a “business-plan” in education was a budgetary thing which happened behind closed doors, concerns which never graced the comments section of the Scotsman let alone featured on the front page as “news”.

    We seem to have drifted into a pseudo-Tory mindset of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing, but the headline of ‘geopolitical risk’ by Jane Bradley was presumably handed her by the Editor with the simple instruction “FFS don’t mention Brexit”.

    So the number of EU students falling after Brexit was not a ‘geopolitical risk’, but filling the shortfall with “non-European Union students from overseas” IS a ‘geopolitical risk’ ?

    Liked by 1 person

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