The Scottish government has announced that from next academic year onwards, European Union (EU) students will have the chance to study in Scotland tuition-free.
Scotland’s Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney announced last 24 March that students from the EU countries would be guaranteed free tuition throughout the duration of their courses. With this move, Scotland is putting pressure on the UK government for them to follow similar footsteps.
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“Following the uncertainty caused by the UK government hard Brexit and the imminent triggering of Article 50, Mr Swinney has moved to reassure applicants for 2018-19, confirming the guarantee already in place for eligible EU students enrolling this year will be extended to those beginning their studies the following academic year,” said the announcement from the Scottish Government.
Just last October 2016, the Westminister government has announced that EU students from outside the UK who will be enrolling for the academic year 2017-2018, will still be eligible for student loans and maintenance fees. However, despite the pressure from UK Universities, the government has not offered any funding guarantees for incoming non-British EU students for the academic year 2018-2019.
Following the Brexit Vote, the effects of the restrictions have been felt by both students and academe. The EU student applications at UK Universities in 2017 fell by 7%, as compared to the previous year.
According to the Scottish government, their decision for free tuition is as a result of the uncertainty caused by the Brexit policy. This way the Scottish government can reassure universities in Scotland with applicants from the EU for the upcoming academic year.
Mr Swinney said, “EU students will rightly have concerns about any change in their status halfway through a course. These students deserve certainty, and knowing that their free tuition is in place for the entirety of their course is important. That is why I have confirmed this free tuition,” he said.
“I am proud that Scotland is a destination of choice for EU students, and I am delighted to give them further reassurance by confirming that support from the Scottish government for tuition-free studies will continue for those commencing courses here in the 2018-19 academic year.”
Report from the Times Higher Education