Scottish Government extends free tuition for EU students
EU citizens who study a Further or Higher education course in Scotland in the 2020/21 academic year will be charged the same tuition fees and will get the same fee support as Scottish students for the entirety of their courses.
This will mean that the vast majority of EU students will be guaranteed free tuition.
Having previously committed to continuing this funding for 2019/20, the Scottish Government has confirmed on April, 19th that it will continue to financially support eligible EU students starting their studies in 2020/21.
This offer of tuition fee support will stand even if current legal obligations to EU students cease to apply when the UK exits the EU - and this announcement makes Scotland the first nation in the UK to offer this commitment.
Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:
“Scotland is an open and welcoming country with world-leading further and higher education institutions and we value the contribution that EU nationals make to our campuses. I am pleased to be able to confirm that we will continue to fund EU citizens who want to come here to study and I would encourage anyone thinking about their education to consider coming to Scotland. Brexit remains the greatest threat facing our colleges and universities and I hope that, in a time of uncertainty, this announcement will provide the clarity that our academic institutions need to plan for the 2020/21 academic year.”
Professor Andrea Nolan, Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of Edinburgh Napier University, said:
“It is really positive that the Scottish Government has made this commitment now as it provides much-needed certainty for potential students and for institutions. Brexit uncertainty continues to loom large over universities so the fact that the Scottish Government has acted decisively in the midst of that speaks volumes about Scotland’s values and our desire to remain open and welcoming to the rest of the world.”
Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, said:
“It is a very welcome development that the Scottish Government has extended this financial assurance. There were approximately 16,000 non-UK EU nationals enrolled in Scottish colleges in 2016-17 and, as a sector, we recognise and value the significant contribution they make to our institutions and society, so we are determined to do all we can to continue attracting those students to colleges in a post-Brexit landscape.”
Liam McCabe, NUS Scotland President, said:
“In the face of ongoing Brexit uncertainty, today’s announcement is welcome, providing much needed clarity to EU students. International students – whether from the EU or elsewhere – make huge social, cultural and economic contributions to their communities, our universities and colleges, and to Scotland as a whole. It’s right that the Scottish Government takes steps to ensure Scotland remains an attractive, welcoming place to study with opportunities for students across the world.”
Martin Fairbairn, Chief Operating Officer at the Scottish Funding Council, said:
“Today’s announcement is very welcome because it helps safeguard the diversity that has helped create Scotland’s international reputation for learning, research and innovation. And it reduces at least some of the uncertainty for potential students, colleges and universities that is a result of Brexit.”
Non-UK students from the EU will be eligible for tuition fee support. Of those, any student who is regarded as a migrant worker or who has been resident in the UK for three years or longer, will also be entitled to living cost support.
Under EU law, the Scottish Government is required to ensure that EU citizens are charged the same tuition fees and provided with equal tuition fee support as Scottish-domiciled students. It remains unclear whether the EU obligations in relation to student finance will cease to apply when the UK exits the EU.