Scottish universities are only offering Clearing places to poorer applicants

The two institutions say they are using the system to hit Scottish government widening access targets.

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A spokesman said it was "only one of the mechanisms we use to support widening participation”.

Scottish universities are only accepting Clearing applications from poorer people, in an attempt to increase university participation in less-advantaged communities.

Edinburgh and Glasgow universities are only accepting Scottish applications for Clearing places from those with a postcode in the country's 20% poorest areas.

The two institutions say they are using the system to hit Scottish government widening access targets.

A spokesman for Glasgow University said it had already met its quota for the number of places awarded to Scots who do not live in the 20% most deprived areas, identified using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 20 (SIMD 20).

However, some critics say this approach might not achieve the desired affect of encouraging those from low-income backgrounds to apply for university. Professor Lindsay Paterson, an eminent professor of education policy, told the Telegraph that allocating clearing places in this way was "extraordinarily unfair” and “ill-informed”.

Glasgow University said its agreement with the Scottish Funding Council to receive public money stipulates targets for entrants from the poorest areas.

He pointed to national figures showing that 65% of young people in low income households do not actually live in the 20% most deprived post codes.

It is the second year running that Edinburgh University has allocated its remaining clearing places for Scots in deprived areas.

A spokesman said it was "only one of the mechanisms we use to support widening participation”.

Glasgow University said its agreement with the Scottish Funding Council to receive public money stipulates targets for entrants from the poorest areas. 

A spokesman said: "The number of applicants from SIMD20 areas has decreased nationally in 2018, while our target has increased, making it more challenging to meet the SIMD20 target. 

"Therefore, we have entered clearing to fill the increased number places for SIMD20 residents. We have already filled the places for non-SIMD20 residents, meaning we do not need to enter clearing for this area."

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