Widening access strategy

Widening access has always been of paramount importance to us at the University of Stirling. For over five decades, we have been at the forefront of creating opportunities in higher education for people with the ability to succeed, irrespective of background.

We work with students, and their parents, guardians and advisers to help find the best route for them and provide specific support for young people with backgrounds in care or who are estranged from their family. We also recognise that students who have caring responsibilities may face different kinds of hurdles in coming to university.

We have a long-standing reputation for excellence in lifelong learning and are committed to supporting mature students in higher education. To facilitate this, we have developed our Access to Degree Studies that supports those who do not yet have the appropriate qualifications, or who have been out of education for a number of years and we are also a partner in the Scottish Wider Access Programme. College students make up a significant part of our student population and we are working to expand articulation and pathway opportunities with our regional partners in a wide range of subjects.

Our Key Priorities

  • Innovative and engaging widening participation and outreach activities
  • A fair, transparent and inclusive admissions process
  • A University community that supports student success
  • An environment that supports wellbeing and mental health
  • Regional partnerships that support educational opportunity
  • Public engagement and participation in community learning development

Our Widening Access Strategy has four key strands:

Raising awareness

We want to realise the potential of those who have the talent, irrespective of background. We have forged new pathways to widen access to higher education and provide opportunities for those who have the ability to succeed. We work with schools, colleges, sector agencies and community organisations, capturing the imagination of young people through our research and how the world works. Through these kinds of activities, a university education starts to become something that is accessible and attainable.

Accessible and fair admissions

We recognise the diverse nature of learner journeys and that there is no single route to studying at university. We accept a broad range of qualifications enabling mobility for learners between different stages as well as removing any duplication of learning by maximising the use of credit and recognising prior learning and experience. We know that not all applicants have the same opportunities and we operate a contextual approach to admissions that assesses applications in conjunction with personal and educational circumstances.

Supporting success

Our aim is to provide high quality, effective and comprehensive support to ensure our students are able to successfully manage the transition points into, throughout and out of university. We want our students to feel knowledgeable, supported and confident when embarking on their university career and to be a successful, happy and healthy student. Our Stirling Essentials module provides pre-arrival transition support and our Faculties, Student Support Services and Students’ Union provide an academic and personal support.

Building community

We understand how important a sense of belonging is to a successful student experience. Being part of a community and feeling connected to the University, staff and other students is critical. Our engagement with the wider community, local councils, schools and colleges promotes access to higher education for all learners and contribute to building prosperous, resilient and sustainable communities.

Get in touch

For more information please contact us at:

+44 (0) 1786 467046

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