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Equality in colleges in Scotland: Statistical report 2018

06 Sep 2018 | Advance HE Advance HE publishes the seventh national student equality data report for colleges in Scotland.

The report is an equality-focused analysis of information on students from the 2016-17 academic year and participation data from 2006-07 to 2016-17.

The report provides information on age, disability, ethnicity and gender, as well as on the intersectionality of these identities (for example, female black students and male disabled students). 

David Bass, Advance HE Associate Director, Membership and Accreditation, said, “The purpose of the report is to provide evidence and insights into the main equality challenges facing students, supporting efforts to overcome them. As data reporting on students’ sexual orientation and religion, religious denomination or body were made mandatory in 2016-17, we have enriched this year’s report by adding a series of new tables taking a closer look at these characteristics in particular.” 

Key findings in the report include:  

Age:  Successful completion rates were highest for students aged 30–34
(76.4%) and those aged 25–29 (75.9%), and lowest for students
under 16 (69.8%) and 16–19 (73.1%).

Disability: There was a striking gap in the proportion of FE students who disclosed as disabled and non-disabled students who studied STEM subjects (15.3% compared with 27.3%). The gap was most pronounced in engineering (5.0% of students who disclosed as disabled studied engineering compared to 15.5% of non-disabled students, a difference of 10.5 percentage points). 

Ethnicity: 2016/17 recorded the second largest proportion of BME students in the time series, at 7.0%. However, the proportion of non-UK domiciled students who were BME continued to decrease, and dropped from 71.8% in 2015/16 to 62.7% in 2016/17, a difference of 9.1 percentage points. Among all students, a larger proportion of BME students studied part-time than white students (62.2% compared with 59.2%), particularly mixed and other students (66.6%).

Gender: In 2016-17, there was a pronounced gender gap among HE students studying STEM subjects. Male students made up 83.8% of all students on STEM courses compared with 16.2% of female students. 

Intersections: Nearly twice the proportion of white students disclosed as disabled compared with BME students (14.9% compared with 8.0%, a difference of 6.9 percentage points). This gap slightly decreased from 2015-16, when it was 7.9 percentage points.

Other protected characteristics: The majority of students (67.2%) identified as heterosexual, followed by 2.7% of students identifying as bisexual, 0.7% as a gay man, and 0.6% as a gay woman/lesbian. Just under a quarter of students (22.8%) refused to provide information on their sexual orientation. 

The full report is available here

The report uses data from the Scottish Funding Council.

(Note: This report presents data for student enrolments. Therefore, students in this report - including all tables -  refers to student enrolments. Each time an individual engages on a new programme of study, they are counted as an enrolment. A student may enrol on more than one programme of study. For this reason, the number of enrolments is greater than the student headcount. 

In 2016-17, there was a headcount of 235,735 students at Scotland’s colleges. The headcount is a count of individual students. This number is rounded to the nearest multiple of 5. 

In 2016-17, there was a count of 291,850 student enrolments. The tables presented in this report are based on this number, rounded to the nearest multiple of 5.)


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