Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Concern over thousands of college applicants being turned away

Dundee College
As reported in today's Courier, figures obtained by Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Liam McArthur MSP, have revealed that colleges across Scotland are unable to offer places to thousands of applicants.   Full details of the figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats are given below.

In the Courier, I made the point that it is very concerning that Dundee College was unable to offer a place for 3,191 applicants in the 2012/13 academic year.      That is up from 2,957 applicants in 2011/12 and 2,037 applicants in 2010/11 and shows a worrying trend that is letting down Dundonians wishing to take up a college place.    

Dundee College does an excellent job but the Scottish Government has continually cut its funding.  The Education Cabinet Secretary should reconsider his decision to further cut college funding.

Liam McArthur has criticised the SNP government for planning to slash a further £34 million out of the college budget at a time when unemployment remains far too high and demand for college places is outstripping supply.  

Commenting on the figures across Scotland, Liam said:

“The Education Secretary needs to think again on his planned college cuts. These figures show that up and down Scotland, colleges are being forced to turn away applicants due to a lack of places. How can the SNP government seriously expect to tackle unemployment if it is slashing over £30 million out of college budgets when they need it most?

“James Watt College was unable to accommodate 1,261 students in 2012/13. That is 1,261 missed opportunities. It rings alarm bells that many of our colleges are turning applicants away due to a lack of places.

“Those who attend colleges often face different circumstances than university applicants. They tend to look for courses on their doorstep and family commitments may mean they cannot relocate to another city. What happens when there’s no room at their local college? These figures show that the SNP’s decision to cut college budgets could have serious ramifications to the lives of our aspiring learners.  

“Interestingly, our figures also show that applicants may also be languishing on waiting lists. City of Glasgow College had 8,021 applicants on waiting list this year alone. I hope that the college waiting list audit can shed some light on this but it is clear that there are questions to be answered about whether this really is best practice.  

“I remain concerned about the pace and extent of college mergers being demanded by the Education Secretary. These figures demonstrate a need to review access and seek to widen it across both further and higher education sectors. In our universities and our colleges, it is clear that we still have a long way to go to achieve fair access to education.

“Mike Russell will only be stoking the flames of unemployment if he goes ahead with plans to cut £34 million out of the college budget.”

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats :    We asked: Can you tell me how many applicants have been turned away due to a lack of places in the last three years? 

How colleges responded:

No Response provided for:
Angus College, Kilmarnock College, Cardonald College, Stevenson College Edinburgh, or Motherwell College

Students NOT turned away at: 
Orkney College, Perth College, North Highland College, Inverness College, or at Coatbridge College.

Students turned away at and the numbers:

Dundee College was unable to offer a place for 3,191 applicants in 2012/13. That is up from 2,957 applicants in 2011/12 and 2,037 applicants in 2010/11.

In 2012/13, 400 applicants were turned away from Carnegie College. This is an increase from 343 in 2011/12.

Banff & Buchan College turned away 180 applicants in 2012/13, which is up from 130 applicants in 2011/12. In 2010/11 the college turned away 131 applicants.

West Lothian College turned away 638 students (excluding January programmes) in 2012/13. In 2011/12, the college turned away 489 applicants, and in 2010/11, the college turned away 461 applicants. 

South Lanarkshire College saw 4,999 applications for 1,800 full-time places in 2012/13. As a result, “569 suitable applicants did not receive a place in 2012/13.” In 2011/12 they had 4,747 applications for 1,800 places and in 2010/11 they had 4,093 applicants for 1,800 places.

Reid Kerr College turned away 1,968 students (excluding January programs) in 2012/13. The College turned away 2,217 students in 2011/12 and 2192 students in 2010/11. In 2009/10, the College turned away 2,121 students.

At Moray College there were 64 rejected applicants in 2012/13 which is up from 52 students in 2011/12 but down from 89 students in 2010/11. 

Langside College turned away 2,781 students in 2010/11, 573 students in 2011/12 and 270 students in 2012/13.

Forth Valley College has 734 applicants on their waiting list for 2012/13. This is up from 579 in 2011/12 and 410 in 2010/11.

Dumfries College and Galloway College turned away 86 applicants in 2012/13. This is up from 60 students in 2011/12 and 23 students in 2010/11.

Anniesland College rejected 883 applicants in 2012, compared with 976 applicants in 2011 and 1587 applicants in 2010, due to a lack of places. 
96 applicants to Borders College for 2012/13 did not get a place due to the oversubscribed courses. This is up from 53 applicants in 2011/12 but down from 114 applicants in 2010/11.

At Ayr College 536 applicants were unable to secure a place in 2011/12 this is up from 247 in 2010/1 and 377 in 2009/10.

Barony College, Dumfries turned away 59 people in 2012/13 which is down from 154 people in 2011/12 and 74 people in 2010/11. On 1 October 2012, Barony, Elmwood, Oatridge and SAC merged to form Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), so I replying on behalf of all four former colleges.

Elmwood College turned away 465 students in 2012/13, 206 students in 2011/12, and 29 students in 2010/11.

Oatridge College turned away 185 students in 2012/13, 138 in 2011/12, and 154 in 2010/11.

Scottish Agricultural College turned away 80 students in 2012/13, 68 students in 2011/12, and 0 students in 2010/11.

City of Glasgow College had 8,021 applicants on a waiting list in 2012/13. In 2011/12, 2,951 applicants were on a waiting list and 2,128 applicants were on a reserve list. In 2010/11, no applicants were on a waiting list.

Glasgow Metropolitan College had 4,908 applicants on its waiting list in 2010/11. For 2011/12 and 2012/13, the college responded saying “Glasgow Metropolitan College kept waiting lists which could be interpreted as the number of applicants failing to get a place.”

North Glasgow College turned away 104 students in 2010/11, 456 students in 2011/12, and in 2012/13, 936 students were turned away due to a lack of places.

Glasgow Central College had 377 applicants on a waiting list in 2010/11. For 2011/12 and 2012/13, “if a course was full applications were not accepted even onto a waiting list.”

John Wheatley College had no place for 424 students in 2012/13, compared with no places for 183 students in 2011/12 and no places for 224 students in 2010/11.

Stow College turned away 4,716 applicants in 2010. In 2011, they turned away 6,914 applicants. In 2012, the College turned away 6,207 applicants.  

James Watt College was unable to accommodate 542 students in 2010/11; 900 students in 2011/12, and 1,261 students in 2012/13. 

Aberdeen College does not hold information about college applicants turned away.