‘Uni fees won’t deter students’
Scottish rise defended
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