Student Numbers Campaign: Success!

After discussions between the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and Senior Management at the University of Glasgow, the University and the SRC are pleased to confirm an agreed action plan on the issue of student numbers on the Gilmorehill campus.



After discussions between the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and Senior Management at the University of Glasgow, the University and the SRC are pleased to confirm an agreed action plan on the issue of student numbers on the Gilmorehill campus.

Together, the University and the SRC will:

  1. Target zero growth in student intake numbers for 2023/24; and commit to a managed growth admissions policy for 2024/25, carefully monitoring and controlling the overall student population number while working to improve on capacity constraints such as teaching space;
  2. Provide the full and complete accommodation guarantee policy to students by 25 January at the latest;
  3. Allocate additional funds to support the student experience strategy action plan in order to improve support for student services, clubs and societies;
  4. Ensure the student voice is present in the recruitment process through SRC inclusion in the Recruitment and Conversion Committee.

The SRC and the University feel confident that these steps will adequately support students at the University of Glasgow and ensure that any student number growth in the future will happen in consultation with and for the benefit of students.

However, the University and the SRC jointly recognise that our students may be affected by factors beyond the University’s control – for example, the continuation of issues within the private rental sector in the city and across the country.

The University of Glasgow has been engaging positively and constructively with Glasgow City Council on the issue of student accommodation, and both the University and SRC will each engage proactively with the local authority and with other stakeholders regarding the city’s policy on student residential accommodation, recognising the incredibly important economic, social and cultural role our students play in the life of the city.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli   Rinna Väre
Principal and Vice-Chancellor President, Students’ Representative Council



Students’ Representative Council (SRC) & University of Glasgow Joint Statement on Student Numbers

The SRC and the University of Glasgow are pleased to announce a joint statement addressing the issue of student numbers on the Gilmorehill campus.  This statement sets out how we intend to carefully manage growth in the coming years and the actions we will take to specifically address the issue of student numbers on the Gilmorehill campus, as well as how we intend provide a world-class student experience going forward.


  • Student numbers.

The student population at the University is determined by the number of continuing students in our overall population and the annual intake “target” the University sets for admissions each year.  Student numbers are influenced by many complex factors and constraints that the University must take into account when deciding its admissions policy.  This includes our obligations to the Scottish Funding Council in meeting specific population targets for controlled home student places (e.g. for clinical subjects, teacher training etc); our commitment to deliver on the important and ambitious widening access targets; our requirements to meet wider government policy obligations as a consequence of external shocks (e.g. impact of Covid on Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) exam results and subsequently higher student numbers); and also in managing our finances responsibly to ensure we are able to continue to invest in world-class facilities and learning resources to enhance the student experience.

We recognise that over a number of years there has been sustained growth in the University population, particularly on our Gilmorehill campus.  More recent factors such as a shortage in the supply of city-wide accommodation in the private rented sector have led to real difficulties for many of our students.

Therefore, the Admissions team has been directed by the University Senior Management Group to pursue a zero-growth target for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught student intake for 2023/24, with an aim to recruit below target, subject to any changes in Scottish Funding Council or Scottish Government policy which may require us to offer additional places in areas of national skill shortages.  

From 2023/24 to 2024/25, the University will commit to a managed growth admissions policy and will carefully monitor and control the overall student population number in a way that enables student numbers to be capped more effectively. Equally, however, the policy will retain flexibility contingent on improvements to capacity constraints, for example, optimising the timetable, adding further teaching space and resources, and further increasing accommodation provision.  The SRC will continue to seek assurances from the University on these capacity constraints going forward.

It is important to recognise that no University can guarantee a specific target with complete precision. By its nature, the process is subject to continual review, adjustment and refinement.  For example, the total student population is impacted by how many students agree to take up an offer and how many start their course, or subsequently decide to withdraw in addition to the number of students who return from the previous year.  Data shows that this fluctuates yearly, and with Covid years creating considerable disruption in this respect. Hence, when evaluating our intakes against the zero target for 2023/24 and future targets for 2024/25 and beyond we must recognise that the target will not be met precisely.  However, the University will take all necessary steps to come as close to the target as possible

In response to concerns raised by the SRC, the University has reviewed its approach to planning and admissions policy.  Significant resources have been committed to managing the approach to student intake numbers, particularly for our Gilmorehill campus. Some of the steps being taken by the University include:

  • The development of individual admissions targets for each programme to ensure the quality of academic experience on every degree;
  • Creation of a new governance structure for admissions via the Recruitment and Conversion Committee;
  • Creation of separate school level committees for managing intake on individual programmes with a high number of applicants
  • Implementation of a new ‘gated’ admissions process for PGT programmes to ensure they do not grow beyond capacity.

Crucially, the University will also act to ensure that the student voice is included in the process, meeting one of the key asks of the SRC.  The University will include SRC representation on the relevant project boards for the strategic planning round, and has invited the SRC to join the newly formed ‘Recruitment and Conversion Committee’ to improve the transparency and decision-making around recruitment process and to help create an understanding of the trade-offs within our decision-making framework.  Additionally, the University and the SRC will bring student numbers and recruitment as a standing item on the agenda at the co-chaired Student Experience Committee.

The University will enter a new strategic planning round for academic year 2025/26 and beyond. It is not possible for the University to commit to any firm admissions targets for beyond 2025 until the current planning round is completed and reviewed.


  • Policy Review.

In addition to reviewing our Admissions policy, the University and the SRC are working together to ensure that the 2023/24 Accommodation Guarantee for incoming students is accurate and contains the information necessary for students to make informed choices about their university selection. It is agreed that a full and final version of the policy will be available on the University website by January 25th at the latest to ensure that information is available to all students by the final UCAS deadline.

Additionally, the University has made several commitments regarding student accommodation:

  • The University will continue to maximise the number of residential rooms it can make available directly to students;
  • The University is expediting its efforts to build or acquire new accommodation.
  • The SRC will be fully consulted on University policy regarding residential accommodation guarantees for 2024 and beyond.

Managing student accommodation needs is bigger than the University; student housing is a city-wide emergency in Glasgow, and indeed a nationwide emergency in the UK. It is important to stress that, even with the above measures in place, a further reduction in private rental supply in the city of Glasgow could lead to a continuation of the significant student housing shortage in the city. This is not an issue which the University can address on its own; it requires concerted policy action on housing at government level.  The University has engaged positively and constructively with the City Government in Glasgow over the past number of months and will continue to do so.


  1. Support Existing Students.

    There has been significant investment in the past several years in Student and Academic Services, with over £20 million being invested in the past two years. Further significant investment is anticipated in the coming years through the Student Experience Strategy, a new initiative that is co-designed by the University, the SRC and the other student associations.

    The University commits to providing adequate space for learning and teaching as well as student life. Additional evening space for clubs as societies has been allocated and projects are underway to determine what spaces are available for use in the coming year. The SRC and the University will work together to address issues as they arise and plan for the future.


  • Include Student Voices.

The SRC campaign came largely in response to the student accommodation crisis which exists in the city of Glasgow and in many cities across Scotland and the UK, which left many students struggling to find safe and affordable accommodation with some students stuck in a cycle of sofa surfing.

The University took significant steps to address the accommodation crisis. It quickly found short-term housing solutions for students in need, increased the Hardship Fund by an additional £500k, and held regular emergency accommodation update meetings to communicate about this issue with the relevant student services. However, it was clear that no matter how much resource the University dedicated to this issue, it would not solve the city-wide and nationwide crisis of affordable student housing.

As noted above, the University alone cannot address this issue except for the relatively small proportion of the University community for whom it offers an accommodation guarantee. Both the University of Glasgow and the SRC will each engage proactively with the local authority and with other stakeholders regarding the public policy on student residential accommodation, recognising the incredibly important economic, social and cultural role our students play in the life of the city.