Higher Education

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See also: Research

Tuition Fees

Westminster MPs claim that Scotland would be unable to continue the current tuition fees system.[1] Since Scotland and the rest of the UK would be separate EU states following independence, it would no longer be possible for Scotland to charge fees from rUK students alone.[2] The only reason the Scottish Government can charge English, Welsh and Northern Irish students, is because they are currently part of the same EU state.[3] According to EU legislation, the Scottish Government could only continue charge those students’ fees, if it were to charge all other European citizens the same.[4]


The pro-unionist stance is that Scotland currently profits from its devolved education system – as decisions come from the Scottish parliament, yet much of their essential research funding is sourced from the UK.[5] For this reason, the Scottish Government would jeopardise the opportunities available to Scottish students, and the support necessary for research.[6]


  1. House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee: The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Scotland's Membership of the EU 3. Conditions of Membership - Student Fees (from para 65)
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/scottish-independence-blog/2014/jan/14/scottish-independence-tuition-fees 14/1/14
  3. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/scottish-independence-blog/2014/jan/14/scottish-independence-tuition-fees 14/1/14
  4. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/scottish-independence-blog/2014/jan/14/scottish-independence-tuition-fees 14/1/14
  5. http://b.3cdn.net/better/8afe17b66eb8c1e057_fgm6bzrjd.pdf
  6. http://b.3cdn.net/better/8afe17b66eb8c1e057_fgm6bzrjd.pdf
Tuition Fees

The SNP plans to continue the current fees system in place. That is, to offer free university tuition to Scottish and EU students, with the exception of those resident in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.[1] This will protect Scottish students from having to pay the high tuition fees currently set in England.[2] It states that although tuition fees have risen for students elsewhere in the UK attending Scottish universities, this has not deterred those students from studying in Scotland. A 4% increase in acceptances from these parts of the UK is noted between academic years 2011/12 and 2012/13.[3]


The Scottish Government plans to retain Scotland’s place in the current ‘common research area’ of the UK.[4] With independence, Scottish university research will be better represented as such, on an international stage.[5] The SNP will seek to maintain the current funding systems in place, and negotiate with Westminster to continue to work with UK Research Councils[6].


  1. Herald 15/6/14
  2. Scotland’s Future Chapter 5: Education, Skills and Development
  3. Scotland’s Future Chapter 5: Education, Skills and Development
  4. Chapter 5: Education, Skills and Development, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/9
  5. Chapter 5: Education, Skills and Development, Scotland’s Future, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348/9
  6. Herald 15/6/14