EU students coming to Scotland in 2019/20 to get free tuition despite Brexit

Written by Tom Freeman on 1 February 2018 in News

Scottish Government extends free tuition offer to EU students for another year

Shirley-Anne Somerville - Scottish Parliament

Students from the European Union coming to study undergraduate degrees in Scotland in 2019/20 will have their fees covered by the Scottish government, it has been announced.

In a statement to MSPs, universities minister Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed that commitments to continue to fund EU students despite Brexit would continue for another year.

The funding will stay in place throughout their studies.

Somerville said: “Since the EU referendum, we have been clear that we want prospective students from the EU to continue to see Scotland as a place they wish to study, a place they wish to live and a place they can call home.”

EU students have enjoyed free tuition in Scotland because of freedom of movement laws, while students from elsewhere in the UK are charged fees.

Universities across the UK have said they have already seen a drop-off in applicants from the EU since the result of the referendum.

In Scotland, UCAS figures show a 10 per cent drop last year alone.

This has been exacerbated by uncertainty over the immigration status of foreign students in post-Brexit Britain as negotiations between the UK Government and the EU continue.

“We must prepare for an outcome none of us want,” Somerville told MSPs.

“In doing so, we must not allow our distinct voice, our international reputation and our excellence in education to diminish.

“Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we must send a clear signal not only to people who are already studying here, but also potential students from the EU and further afield

“We must continue to provide opportunities for our own students so that they might benefit from the experience of studying and living abroad.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, convener of Universities Scotland, welcomed the announcement.

“Today’s announcement gives some much needed clarity and assurance to universities but most importantly demonstrates to EU students that they continue to be welcome in Scotland,” she said.

“EU students are a core part of many important courses but are also highly valued educationally, culturally and economically not just by universities but the communities in which they live.”

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