14 Oct 2019
Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, will today (14 October) speak on behalf of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, at a fringe event at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, co-hosted by NUS Scotland.
Professor Seaton will share the platform with Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science; Carol Monaghan MP, SNP Spokesperson for Education in Westminster; Liam McCabe, NUS Scotland President; and Zamzam Ibrahim, NUS President.
In his speech, Professor Seaton will say that across Scotland it is modern universities that do the “heavy lifting” on widening access and participation, with most disadvantaged students and mature students attending such institutions.
Professor Seaton will warn that real-terms cuts in Scottish Government funding for universities disproportionately affect modern universities, because of their greater dependence on public funding and so risk undermining efforts towards improving educational opportunities for all.
He will say:
“A third of all students in Scotland and the majority of students from the country’s most disadvantaged backgrounds attend a modern university, as do the bulk of mature learners.
“It is therefore the modern universities that make the greatest contribution to social mobility through university education in Scotland, and, although widening access is not purely about public investment, it is these same universities that are most affected by continuing cuts in public funding.
“At Abertay, our core mission is strongly focused on social mobility and we believe that modern universities, which tend to be deeply rooted in their local communities with strong links to industry, can play a key role in levelling the playing field for future generations.”
Notes to editors