Hard to reach communities and a hard to reach university

Laurence Lasselle, Robert Allan Macpherson

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We propose a methodology capturing the perception of geographical, monetary and transportation distance between secondary state schools in some Scottish remote communities and a hard to reach university located in a small town on the north-east coast of rural Fife, i.e. the University of St Andrews. The location of St Andrews and the absence of a railway station mean that it is often interpreted as being geographically isolated. As a result, the University of St Andrews is frequently perceived as hard to reach.
We show that by combining representations in terms of mileage, journey duration and fare we can create an index that reflects the difficulty of geographical access to the University of St Andrews from these Scottish communities. This index is not dependent on the local authority in which the institutions are located, nor on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation associated with each institution data zone, nor on the percentage rate of progression to higher education from these secondary schools. It is dependent on how distance may be perceived in terms of geographical access, monetary costs, and transportation. This index represents an alternative way of measuring remoteness. It could be easily (1) extended to many higher education institutions and (2) integrated into a contextualised admissions system in which applicants from Scottish remote communities would be signalled.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Academic Perspectives
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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