The proportion of full-time higher education students in Scotland at further education colleges has risen from 9 per cent in 1986-87, about 7,440 students, to 18 per cent in 1996-97, up to 30,000 students, according to Scottish Office figures.
The age participation rate has more than doubled since 1986-87 to reach 47 per cent. But the number of older entrants has increased even faster, with the proportion of young entrants falling from 75 per cent to 62 per cent. The number of full-time higher education entrants rose by 10 per cent between 1995-96 and 1996-97 to 71,500, while the number of part-time entrants rose by 24 per cent to 53,600. There are 42,966 part-timers in higher education institutions compared with 39,342 in further education colleges.