EU Students will no longer be eligible for free tuition according to the Scottish Government, beginning in the 2021/22 academic year.
Current EU students in an undergraduate scheme or beginning studies in September will be eligible for funding throughout their course, though those wishing to apply for undergraduate or master programmes past this year’s session will be charged full international fees.
The announcement came from Scottish Minister for Further and Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead, who is a University of Stirling Politics Alumni, during a debate at the Scottish Parliament earlier this month.
MSP Richard Lochhead said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we have taken the difficult decision to end free education for new EU students from the academic year 2021-22 onwards, as a direct consequence of Brexit. However, EU students who have already started their studies or who start this autumn will not be affected and will still be tuition free for the entirety of their course.”
He also went on to say: “Our internationalism remains a key strength of higher education in Scotland, so we will discuss with the sector an ambitious scholarship programme to ensure that the ancient European nation of Scotland continues to attract significant numbers of European students to study here.”
Charmain Scott, History Student at the University of Stirling, started a petition that requests a period of transition for EU students wishing to take further postgraduate study in Scotland.
She said: “I think there needs to be a period of transition with a lower cost than the international fees. EU students who are graduating or nearly graduating in Scotland wouldn’t have prepared for the large international tuition fees, meaning they either need higher loans or to delay their plans at such short notice.”
“I think that a transitional period is a better option for a 2/3 years would allow future students to prepare, while also allowing for a contribution to the cost of their education.”
A University of Stirling spokesperson said: “The University of Stirling values the contribution and diversity that students from the EU bring to our campus – a welcoming and inclusive place to live, study and research.”
“The Scottish Government’s changes to the fee status for students from the European Economic Area (EEA) will not affect current students, nor those beginning their studies in 2020/21.”
“The University will continue to prioritise its engagement with Europe and is participating in sector-wide discussions over future scholarship opportunities for international students, including those from the EU. Any proposals will be considered by the University, alongside colleagues from the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, and Universities Scotland.”
You can find the petition here.
Feature Image Credit: Press and Journal