Low-income participation down 25% in Scotland

Another report shows that tuition is not the primary barrier


Despite no tuition (students pay an "endowment fee" upon graduation), the number of youth from lower-income backgrounds attending university immediately following high-school is down 25% in Scotland.

The Herald reports:

"Fewer pupils from deprived backgrounds are going to university in Scotland despite a raft of initiatives to widen participation, according to a new report.

In 2006-07, just 14% of school-leavers from secondaries in the lowest participation areas for higher education went to university compared to 19% in 2002-03."


The issue of improving participation from young people from disadvantaged backgrounds is complex. This is just another report proving that. It also shows that despite the "free tuition" rhetoric, tuition is not the primary barrier to overcome.

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Low-income participation down 25% in Scotland

  1. Nice selective quoting there.

    You failed to mention that the Herald article also points out school-leavers from secondaries in the highest participation areas for higher education also dropped, from 31% to 29%, and that even with this drop, over 50% of the population goes on to some sort of post-secondary after school in any event.

    All the report really shows is that tuition is not the sole barrier to people undertaking post-secondary, which nobody has ever argued. It says nothing about the strength of any particular barrier — which isn’t surprising considering that it doesn’t name any other than tuition. So to then go on and say that this report shows that tuition is not the primary barrier simply demonstrates that you should have taken another couple of courses, I’d suggest statistics and journalistic ethics, so that you can stop presenting such biased reporting as factual.

  2. Well if it isn’t our old friend with the lame name. Haven’t seen you in a while, yet you’re still on your high horse, confusing blog entries (opinions) with news articles (facts). I’ll grant you that this website isn’t terribly explicit about which is which, but it’s not that hard if you’re willing to make the effort. See at the top? Under the red bar? Where it says ‘Home > *Blogs* > Coleman on…’? And despite this, you seem to think that anonymity is the perfect position from which to cry ‘bias’ and question people’s ethics and intelligence. Coward.

    Really, only you and the other cronies appreciate these cheap shots. You just irritate the rest of who are here to learn about and discuss the issue. If you’re going to contribute, then Contribute!

    Perhaps the White Elephant both you and Joey avoided naming has never explicitly stated that tuition is the only determining factor. Yet if this is the case, I wonder why they so consistently act as though it is.

  3. ThinkOrThwim = CFS National Office?

  4. I don’t think the Herald article gives a full sense of the research findings, although it does indeed show decline in participation for students with most barriers to access. It also shows headcount decline is partly due to more students studying full time–so the head count is down, but the number of courses taken is up–rather than part time with work, and also that the gap between social classes slightly decreases as students get older.

    You can find the study here:

  5. Thanks for the link Stacy. This all goes to show just how complicated the factors leading to post-secondary attendance are.

  6. Travis, if that is your real name, my pseudonym is hardly less anonymous than yours when you consider that this is a site where anybody can fill in any name they please.

    Besides, judging the worth of a post or an opinion based on the name of the presenter is simply asinine. If I had posted under the nym of Stephen Hawking or Homer Simpson, would that have changed your view of the post? I certainly hope not, as that would be evidence of some of the worst reasoning around.

    That said, your comment about confusing a b’log with a news article might have some merit, but that still doesn’t excuse the bias spin Joey’s pushing here. Or are you saying that people should be allowed to spin anything however they want so long as they’re not purporting it to be news? Sorry, but I get enough of that from the other political blogs I read. I’d like to think at least Macleans’ holds its writers to a higher standard.

    Haggis = Non-thinking response? Arguing that Joey’s conclusions aren’t supported is hardly arguing for the CFS position that lowering tuition is a panacea. As I’ve posted elsewhere in these forums, I personally believe that directed grants are a better means than generic tuition reductions.

    Stacy, thank you! Some real research can’t help but make this a better debate all around. I haven’t looked at the publication myself yet, but does it show the rate of students who were undertaking post-secondary before Scotland moved to the free tuition system? I think that’s where we could actually see if tuition plays a role and if so, how much.

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