Increasing Number of College Students in Scotland

Figures released today (Tuesday, 28 February 2023) by the Scottish Funding Council show that activity in colleges is beginning to return to normal following the pandemic with colleges delivering the full-time equivalent of teaching to 129,175 students in 2021/22.

This exceeds the target set by the Scottish Government, showing the resilience of colleges throughout a challenging period.

The number of enrolments has also increased by 16% overall to 322,332 and the number of people choosing to study further education part-time has increased. Part of the appeal of studying at college is that they offer many flexible opportunities to learn, allowing people to learn new skills and gain qualifications that fit around work, family and/or caring responsibilities.

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland said: “I’m pleased that students are returning to college campuses to study following a difficult couple of years during the pandemic. The report today reinforces what we already know – that colleges are great places to learn, no matter what age or stage of life you are in. Many people who unfortunately lost their jobs during the pandemic now have the opportunity to retrain for a new career by coming to college which is not only great for the individual and their families but also the wider economy.”

The number of students studying full-time higher education is down slightly this year and this can be attributed to a number of factors including the decreasing demographic of 18-24 year olds, more young people staying on longer and school, and more pupils being accepted straight into university in line with the Scottish Government policy to improve access into university for school leavers.

A copy of the College Statistics Report can be found on the SFC website


Members’ Area

The Members’ Area contains information for Chairs, Principals, Directors of HR, Directors of Finance, Head of Marketing/Marketing Managers and Board Secretaries. The information in these sections are intended for those issued with log-in details only, it should be treated as confidential and not for wider circulation.