Statistics showing that record numbers of applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds are applying to university show how important the Scottish Government’s abolition of tuition fees has proved to people in Scotland.

The number of applicants by people from poorer backgrounds has increased by 3% to a record level of 41,080. Eighteen year olds from poorer backgrounds are now twice as likely to apply to university as they were a decade ago.

Commenting, on these figures Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:

“These figures are a further demonstration of just how important the abolition of tuition fees has been for young people in Scotland.

“It has helped make going to university an option for more people from disadvantaged backgrounds and I know from local constituents that they appreciate not having to pay tuition fees. This is in contrast to the disastrous situation south of the border where tuition fees have stopped people making applications.

“My view is that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay – a principle that should be at the heart of Scotland’s approach to education.”