More poorer Scots applying to study

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The proportion of young Scots from the poorest areas who have applied to university has more than doubled in the past decade, a report has revealed.

But the application rate from those living in the most disadvantaged communities is still lower than in the rest of the UK.

The Ucas figures showed 41,080 people in Scotland had applied to study at university by the 15 January deadline.

This was the first time the total had exceeded 40,000.

Ucas said 15% of 18-year-olds from Scotland's most deprived communities had made a university application before the deadline.

That was an increase of 108% from 2004, when the application rate was just 7.2%

Across the UK as a whole just over one in five youngsters (20.5%) from the most disadvantaged areas had applied.

Record high

In Northern Ireland the application rate from this group increased to 25.7%, while England and Wales had rates of 20.7% and 18.2% respectively.

Almost a third (31.4%) of all 18-year-olds in Scotland had submitted an application by the deadline, with the application rate for this age group at a record high.

Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell said: "It is welcome news that, once again, a record number of Scots have applied to university.

"What's more, the contrast with England - where application numbers still have not returned to pre-tuition fee levels - is stark.

"That is why we will ensure Scottish students continue to have access to higher education based on the ability to learn rather than the ability to pay. And why, as I have made clear, this will continue in an independent Scotland."

He added: "I am particularly pleased to see more young people from deprived areas applying. Eighteen-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are more than twice as likely to apply to university than a decade ago.

"Scotland's universities are among the best in the world and a real strength of our nation. Today's figures show they are thriving."

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