A record number of students from the most deprived areas in Scotland are enrolling at universities in the country, the latest figures show.
The Higher Education Student Statistics report, published on Tuesday, shows 16.7% of Scottish first-degree entrants are from the most deprived 20% of Scotland.
This is an increase of 0.3 percentage points, or 545 entrants, from the previous year.
It comes as the overall number of students enrolling in Scottish institutions rose by 8.6%.
Students enrolling from outside the EU have risen by 17% from last year.
Higher Education minister, Jamie Hepburn, said: “Every young person should have an equal chance of success no matter their background or circumstance, so it is great to see the number and proportion of Scots from the most deprived areas at university hit a record high.
“By 2030, we want 20% of students entering higher education to come from Scotland’s most deprived backgrounds and the Commissioner for Fair Access has previously said that Scotland is setting the pace in the UK in widening participation.
“Today’s data also shows the number of students enrolling at Scottish universities hit a new record high and we have seen a large increase in international students.
“This highlights the fact that Scotland, along with our world-class higher education institutions, remains an attractive place to study and live for prospective students.”
He added: “However, we have seen a continued drop in EU students coming to study in Scotland following Brexit.
“EU students enrich our campus life and I hope we can still welcome many of them to our world-leading institutions.”
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