University of Edinburgh: Student admissions change to increase diversity

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The University has expanded its admissions policy to encourage more applications from state school pupils in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Students from all UK state schools outside of Scotland will now receive additional consideration as part of the University’s contextual admissions process.

Previously additional school measures only focussed on low-attaining schools.

The change to the admissions process will come into effect for the University’s 2023 entry.

Diverse student community
The move seeks to increase diversity in the University’s student body, where currently roughly three-out-of-four Scottish students are from a state school, compared with less than half from the rest of the UK.

As there are separate admissions pools for applicants from Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally, these groups are not in competition with each other for spaces.

The University will not consider school type as a standalone contextual measure, but rather as one of a number of factors that might make an applicant eligible for an offer.

Addressing underrepresentation
Contextual admissions is the sector-wide practice that takes into account a range of factors that may impact some applicants when accessing higher education.

If an applicant has encountered a number of these challenges they can be offered a place with minimum entry requirements.

Indicators of applicants’ financial status, such as where they live, are the primary indicators for contextual admissions.

All measures are based on in-depth research, institutional modelling and UK and Scottish government policy on admissions and widening participation.

This change highlights our drive to develop a more diverse and inclusive student body. We believe that by providing opportunities for those who may face barriers to education, we are creating a more rounded experience for our whole University community. While changes to admissions criteria will not provide all the solutions, it is one of many steps we can take that will support our overall ambition to provide equal opportunities for people to access and succeed in higher education.

Professor Colm Harmon
Vice-Principal Students at the University of Edinburgh
Widening access
Edinburgh offers scholarship schemes to support UK students from low income backgrounds, irrespective of their schooling.

The Access Edinburgh Scholarship provides a guaranteed yearly grant of up to £3000 for successful applicants, or £5000 for care-experienced or estranged students.

The University has also made considerable progress towards widening participation for students coming from Scotland.

Scottish students can benefit from a range of initiatives and using several indicators for contextual admissions, with around 75 to 80 per cent of students having been state school educated.

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