Changes to the way universities in Scotland run their admissions systems for care experienced people have been announced by Universities Scotland. From September, applicants with care experience will be guaranteed an undergraduate place at university if they meet the new minimum entry requirements for a degree programme.
Announcing the change, Universities Scotland hopes this will encourage more applications from care experienced people and lead to more starting university, and create more opportunities.
Supporting the announcement, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 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."
All 18 Scottish universities have taken this step collectively and it is based on a decision 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 per cent of areas across Scotland. No other group of students can be guaranteed an offer even if they meet standard entry requirements.
Claire Burns, Director of Programmes and Services at CELCIS said:
"CELCIS welcomes this step towards ensuring equity in admissions for care experienced students. Many young people with care experience can face multiple and complex barriers throughout their lives which can affect their education and mean that they miss out on further and higher education opportunities.
"We must do everything we can to ensure that early life experiences do not hold back our young people who have the same ability to learn and succeed academically as their peers.
"When implemented, the new policies should play a crucial role as one part of the package of support required. Care experienced students tell us that when they have the correct support during the application process, and receive practical and emotional support while they are at university, they are more likely to complete their studies and have a diverse, inclusive and enjoyable experience."
Read our Beyond the Headlines briefing: Going to university from care.
Read our research, produced for the Scottish Funding Council: 'Being a student with care experience is very daunting' Findings from a survey of care experienced students in Scottish colleges and universities.