Scotland has confirmed that EU citizens starting university there in 2019 will receive free tuition for the duration of their degree, despite concerns about the effect of Brexit.
As of March 2019, the UK will no longer be part of the EU but Scotland wants to send a clear message that international students are still welcome in the country even after Brexit takes effect.
Scotland wants to reiterate that it values international students as an important part of their academic and wider community, and encourages international students to continue coming to Scotland for university.
“I can announce that we will now extend that commitment to the 2019-20 student cohort,” Scotland’s Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville was quoted saying in the BBC.
“This will provide confidence for prospective EU students considering coming to study in Scotland, as well as the clarity that our institutions require in order to plan for that academic year,” she added.
Currently, Scottish students and those from the EU are entitled to free university education funded by the Scottish government – students from other parts of the UK or outside the EU have to pay for education.
Scotland decided it is the right decision to continue this policy into 2019 as international students are important for the social, academic and economic progress of the country.
“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,” Prof Andrea Nolan, convener of Universities Scotland, said to the BBC.
“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.”
Two #Letters in #Herald attack SNP for voluntarily continuing #free_tuition for #EU_students after #UK is #Brexited.
OK with me – Scotland voted to stay in EU and we'll be out of UK soon. Signals our commitment to EU – independentlyhttps://t.co/Mn26rP074shttps://t.co/38cFZG9Xr8 pic.twitter.com/d1NZnxwAGL
— Peter Curran (@moridura) February 6, 2018
Colleges Scotland Chief Executive Shona Struthers said: “EU students are an important part of the college sector, ensuring that our campuses are diverse and our students experience different cultural and educational perspectives which enhances their academic, social and cultural knowledge.
“It is important that we work closely with both the Scottish and UK governments in their negotiations with the EU to develop appropriate systems that enable our staff, students and projects to continue to flourish and excel in this new environment.”
The announcement has been made in ‘good time’ for international students considering studying in 2019, said Labour education spokesman Iain Gray.
“It does mean that EU citizens thinking of applying to study in Scotland in that academic year will know what support will be available to them, and that is important,” he said.