Your Right to Access to College and University

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says in Article 28 that children have the right to primary and secondary school education.

However, it also says that governments should: 

  • Make vocational education an option for people after school, vocational education is education that prepares people to work as a technician or to take up employment in a skilled craft or trade
  • Make higher education (university) accessible to everyone who has the capacity for it 
  • Make sure all children have access to information and guidance on career and education choices 
  • Take measures like offering financial aid to people to get them to stay in education 

There are lots of options to consider when you leave school, if you’re not sure take a look at the Scottish Government website that lists some potential options for school leavers to think about. When you’re considering your options, you might want to talk them through with other people, take a look at our information about who could speak to.

If you’ve just got your results and you are not sure what to do next, you can find loads of helpul advice from Skills Development Scotland.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and studying those subjects at college and university can be a great option. Girls are often underrepresented in STEM subjects, so it’s important girls study STEM subjects and find out more about potential careers after studying these subjects.

Further education and funding

Young people aged 16-19 who are in education can apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) to help with costs. You can apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance on the Scottish Government website.

If you study after the age of 16, your family should also continue to receive child benefits for you, which can help to provide food and other essentials. 

For those interested in university, you can also check out our CashChat video to prepare for going to university or college and take a look at the Student Information Scotland website for more on funding and to see how much money you will need and are entitled to for university.

Other options

Not sure what to do or if college or university is the right option for you? Some other options could be: 

Whatever you decide, you might need some tips on completing an application form!

Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.

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