The number of Higher Education students studying full time for recognised qualifications at colleges has grown by 22 per cent since 2008-09.

Figures published by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) on college performance show that in 2014-15, 23,717 students successfully completed such courses at that level, the highest ever number.

Successful full-time Further Education course completion is also 5.2 percentage points higher than in 2008-09, while there were 119,078 funded full time equivalent students at college last year, over 3,000 more than the Scottish Government target of 116,000.

Figures also released today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show there has been more Scottish-domiciled full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities compared to last year.

Overall enrolments at Scottish institutions are up one per cent, compared to a two per cent drop in England. First degree qualifiers from Scottish universities are comparable to last year, compared to a seven per cent drop in England.

In welcoming this news Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:
“These latest figures show a record 34,775 Scots-domiciled students were accepted to university, with school and college leaver destinations being very positive, and figures in December showed that youth employment was at its highest August to October level since 2008.

“In addition just a year ago we were also looking at record rates of successful completion in our colleges including Forth Valley College and today’s figures show continuing high standards across the board, particularly when compared to 2008-09

“Compared to 2007, the number of learning hours delivered to students with a disability has increased considerably, as have the average hours of learning per student and learning hours delivered on courses leading to a recognised qualification. The Scottish Government has once again comfortably exceeded targets on full time equivalent college student numbers.

“These figures suggest that the college reforms which were implemented are working and that more students successfully completed full-time courses leading to recognised qualifications that would lead to additional study or to relevant training or work.

“Also today’s university student numbers back up last month’s record UCAS figures and complement our continuing delivery of free tuition for Scottish undergraduate students, sparing them from the additional debt incurred by having to pay fees. A commitment that I was proud to support, which is in contrast to what is happening down south.

“I’m delighted to be part of a Government that is delivering on its promises to the people of Falkirk West to give education opportunities to all of our young people irrespective of their financial circumstances”