‘Uni fees won’t de­ter stu­dents’

Scot­tish rise de­fended

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FAMILY MEMORIES - By Neil Evans

PLANS to in­crease tu­ition fees to nonS­cot­tish stu­dents would not put peo­ple in the UK off study­ing in Scot­land, it was claimed to­day.

The SNP’s Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Mike Rus­sell con­firmed pro­pos­als which would see uni­ver­si­ties able to charge up to £9,000 for stu­dents com­ing from else­where in Bri­tain.

But Robin Parker, pic­tured, pres­i­dent of the Aberdeen Univer­sity Stu­dents As­so­ci­a­tion and NUS Scot­land pres­i­dent elect, to­day crit­i­cised the move.

He said: “We be­lieve the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has made en­tirely the wrong choice.

“These pro­pos­als could make Scot­tish de­grees the most ex­pen­sive in the whole of the UK for stu­dents from Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land, go­ing fur­ther even than what we’ve seen in Eng­land.

“We’re very con­cerned that these pro­pos­als may pre­vent many of the poor­est, most tal­ented stu­dents from com­ing to Scot­land to study and con­trib­ute to Scot­tish so­ci­ety.”

Speak­ing in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, Labour ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Ken Mac­in­tosh said non-Scot­tish stu­dents could end up pay­ing more be­cause many un­der­grad­u­ate cour­ses north of the bor­der were over four years.

But Mr Rus­sell ar­gued that cour­ses like medicine were the same as ev­ery­where else in the UK. And he said: “We must be the best op­tion, not the cheap­est op­tion. And we need to move quickly.

“Our uni­ver­si­ties are al­ready start­ing to plan re­cruit­ment cam­paigns for the 2012/13 aca­demic year.

“We must pro­vide clar­ity for po­ten­tial stu­dents from the rest of the UK.”

Mr Rus­sell told MSPs that while he took “no joy” in the mea­sure, he had al­ready se­cured an agree­ment with uni­ver­si­ties to vol­un­tar­ily com­ply un­til such laws could be put in place.

He said the de­ci­sion could see fees rise from the cur­rent £1,800 for stu­dents from else­where in the UK up to as much as £9,000 an­nu­ally, with a pos­si­ble av­er­age of £6,375

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