1. Data on the nature of higher education provision in Scotland are currently collected and held by several sources. Professor Gillian Raab of Napier University was commissioned by the Scottish Committee to compile these and other statistics into a single document in order to inform the Committee's thinking on overall participation rates and types and levels of higher education provision.1 The academic year 1994/95 was chosen because it was the most recent year for which data were available.

Data Sources
Five main data sources were used in developing this statistical profile:

  • Institutional Prospectuses and Annual Reports
  • The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC)
  • The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department (SOEID)
  • 1991 Census
  • A questionnaire sent to all institutions (except the Open University)

3. In Scotland, data on higher education are primarily collected through two separate statistical returns based upon source of provision. Data on higher education delivered at the higher education institutions it funds were made available from the SHEFC's statistics branch. The source for most of these data was the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Some data reported to the HESA by higher education institutions originate from the UCAS application process. Data on social class and qualifications on entry arising from UCAS records should be viewed with caution as they are based upon self-reported information. As the SHEFC does not fund the Open University and the Scottish Agricultural College, data on these institutions were obtained from the HESA and the SOEID respectively.

4. Statistics on higher education delivered through further education colleges are collected by the SOEID.

5. In addition to these tables, the Scottish Committee also requested the development of several statistical tables directly from the SOEID. The source for these tables is identified throughout this annex as appropriate.

Population definitions
Students at Higher Education Institutions: these statistics have been compiled by the HESA as individual student records in the HESA 'Year as a Whole' return for 1994/95. These students would also be defined according to the SHEFC's 'Standard Population' which includes all students who were at the institution at some time during the academic year taking programmes leading to a qualification or a credit. Students who were covered by the aggregate non-credit bearing programme returns (programmes for vocational or professional updating and not funded by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC)) were excluded from this profile. A small number of students (167) studying on programmes below higher education level at higher education institutions are included in the tables.

7. Students at Further Education Colleges: those on higher education programmes in the 43 further education colleges directly funded by the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department (SOEID). Data for this profile were taken from the 1994/95 FES1 and FES2 returns. In general, the SOEID defines higher education as: courses leading to a higher diploma or certificate; a first degree course; the education and training of teachers; post-graduate studies; and a higher level qualification from a professional body.2

8. Full-time Equivalent (FTE): The method of defining an FTE is different between the two sets of statistical returns. In higher education institutions a programme is given an FTE that represents an institution's academic judgement of the proportion of a full-time student's load. It may therefore be calculated from the length of a part-time programme or the number of credit points for a year, relative to a full-time programme of study. Some full-time programmes, mainly those running for part of a year, will have an FTE different from 1. For further education institutions, all full-time programmes have an FTE of 1 and part-time programmes are assigned an FTE on the basis of mode of attendance.

Interpretation of data
The separate approaches to defining FTE may result in an underestimation of the FTEs for part-time students in further education colleges. For example, in higher education institutions, a part-time evening programme of study where students normally graduate in twice the time that full-time students would graduate would typically have an FTE of 0.5. In the further education sector, all programmes operating on a part-time, evening or weekend basis are assigned an FTE of 0.1. Therefore, the average part-time FTE for undergraduates studying in higher education institutions is 0.43. For higher education provided in the further education sector, the average FTE is 0.16.

Notes to Tables
Unless otherwise noted:

  • all undergraduate provision includes sub-degree provision;
  • the term 'New Entrant' used in Tables 6 and 7 refers to undergraduate students only;
  • the category labelled 'Other Institutions' comprises Edinburgh College of Art; Glasgow School of Art; Queen Margaret College; the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama; the Scottish Agricultural College; and the Scottish College of Textiles.

List of tables3
Table 1* Base population, Scottish under-21 undergraduate entrants to higher education and Age Participation Indices (API) 1987/88 - 2007/08

Table 2 Total higher education student numbers in Scotland by mode of study and institution type in 1994/95

Table 3 Age distribution of new full-time entrants to Scottish higher education by institution type in 1994/95

Table 4 Age distribution of new part-time entrants to Scottish higher education by institution type in 1994/95

Table 5 Gender of full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students in Scotland by institution type in 1994/95

Table 6 Gender of part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students in Scotland by institution type in 1994/95

Table 7 Per cent distribution of the highest qualification on entry for UK-domiciled students on their first year of study by institution type in 1994/95

Table 8* Highest entry qualification of Scottish-domiciled students known to be entering higher education institutions straight from school by age in 1994

Table 9 Per cent distribution of full-time undergraduates by domicile and institution type in 1994/95

Table 10 Per cent distribution of full-time postgraduates by domicile and institution type in 1994-95

Table 11 Distribution of undergraduate and postgraduate FTEs for higher education by subject group of study and gender in 1994/95

Table 12 Graduate qualifications by student in Scotland in 1994/95

Table 13* Social class differences in the percentage of school leavers who enter full-time higher education 1980-94

1 The work was carried out by Professor Gillian Raab and Ms Veronique Johnston.

2 SOEID 1996a, Annex 1.1.

3 An asterisk next to the table number indicates that the table source was SOEID.