McArthur: College budget cuts to blame for massive fall in student numbers

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur MSP has criticised the Scottish Government for cuts to college budgets as new figures published today show that since 2007 there has been huge fall in the total number of students enrolling in Scottish colleges.

Despite high numbers of full-time students completing courses, the total number of enrolments has fallen to just under 300,000 from a peak of almost half a million in 2007. This drop is mirrored in the total number of students and is particularly obvious in the number of enrolments in part-time further education courses where figures have almost halved.

Commenting on the figures Mr McArthur said: “Cuts to college budgets obviously lead to cuts in college places and Ministers have no-one to blame but themselves for the massive falls in student numbers and enrolments. The Scottish Government should be promoting learning opportunities, not dashing the hopes of potential students who are now finding access to further education narrowing every year.

“Colleges must be given the funds to deliver the courses that best meet the needs of students in their areas and Ministers need to take an urgent look at whether they are delivering for Scottish students.”

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