Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed figures released which show that 25,550 Scottish students have been accepted to universities in Scotland so far this year, a record figure for this point in the year.

The figures, published by UCAS, show an additional 2,780 Scottish students have found places at Scottish universities since Higher results day, representing a 12% rise in Scots admissions. Overall, the increased level of admissions from Scottish students represents a 2% rise on the number of students that had been accepted to University by this time last year.

Commenting, Mr Matheson said:

“These figures show that the Scottish Government’s determination to widen access to universities and protect free tuition for students from Scotland is paying off. Record numbers of Scots are choosing to access higher education in Scotland because of the lifelong opportunities that come with it.

“While sky-high tuition fees are obviously deterring significant numbers of prospective local students from applying to universities south of the border, in Scotland – even in the present very difficult economic circumstances – young people who want to study still feel able to do so.

“I firmly believe that allowing people into higher education based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay is the right way forward for our students, our universities and Scotland’s wider economy. Free university education for the students of both Falkirk district and Scotland ensures that our young people are still able to access opportunities for education and that Scotland will continue to have the supply of skilled graduates that is vital for economic recovery.

“With the measures to widen access to university having passed through parliament in the teeth of Labour opposition, I am confident that we will see even wider access to Scotland’s universities in the years ahead.”