New data from Ucas has shown a drop in students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds applying to university

FOR THE first time in a decade, applications from 18-year-olds from the poorest areas of Scotland fell and the inequality gap between the poorest and most affluent students applying to university grew from its record low of 2.9 per cent in January 2017, data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) has shown.

Using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), UCAS figures show that application rates from 18-year-olds living in disadvantaged areas in Scotland decreased in 2018 to 16.7 per cent.

Reporting every four years, SIMD ranks small geographical areas in Scotland based on their relative level of deprivation, using measures such as health, crime and employment. Areas such as Ferguslie Park in Paisley and Greenock in Inverclyde are consistently named within the top five per cent of the most deprived areas in Scotland.

Some commentators suggested statistical changes in the SIMD ranking system could account for the decrease, but Ucas later ruled this out. Another posssibility raised was that around one third of applications to higher education study in Scotland are processed through UCAS, with students who choose to undertake degree level study at college applying directly through the institution.


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