English students will still pay fees in Scotland

Rebecca Alldridge 23 January 2014

The Scottish government has issued a white paper proposing that Scottish universities continue to charge English students fees, even if Scotland decides to leave the UK in the next referendum and become a member of the EU.

Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell stated, “The Scottish Government believes the current practice of charging fees is the best way of achieving the current mix so students in Scotland can access education”.

However, Jan Figel, the former European Commissioner for education and training, said that if Scotland were to leave the UK and become a member of the EU it would have to offer students in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland “the same treatment” as Scottish students.

Responding to these claims a Scottish Government spokesman pointed to Scotland’s exceptional position in terms of its size and position in relation to the UK and the high demand for places in their University sector, stating: “We believe that these distinctive characteristics will enable us to justify objectively the continuation of our current policy in a way which is consistent with the principles of free movement across the EU as a whole, and which is compatible with EU requirements.”