Fee Hike to Hit Scottish Universities

By Nicola Dick

Government plans for English Universities to charge £9000 for tuition fees by 2012 could have an impact on Scottish students according to Edinburgh East MP Sheila Gilmore. She believes that in doing so, there will be less spaces for Scottish students due to the attraction of lower fees:

“I’m concerned that young people in England will increasingly want to study in Scotland. This could squeeze out otherwise bright and able Scottish students. I’m also worried that the sky-high costs will put off Scottish students from studying in England.”

Gilmore has also expressed concerns over an introduction of tuition fees for Scottish students. She worries that if they are not, then the quality of Scottish university courses will drop.

There are more worries that this increase of English tuition fees will see a future generation of students in a high amount of debt. Those who come from a wealthy background will only be able to go to university:

“Young adults who can borrow from the ‘bank of mum and dad’ can access home ownership, and now these same people may well be the only ones who can afford to go into higher education. While the Tories and Lib Dem talk of their desire to improve social mobility, their plans announced today will only make it worse.”

Tory Business Secretary, Vince Cable, stressed the reasons for increasing English tuition fees is in order to address the massive deficit. He argued that the need to pay it down within five years, this meant going ahead with their pledge to raise fees.

Gilmore argues again that this raises the issue of cost over quality:

“If the deficit will be paid off by 2015, as the Government insist it will, then why do we need to rush through permanent changes to our university system?”

A spokesperson from Dundee University does not agree with Gilmore’s views on the rise of English tuition fees. They do not think this is the reason English students will be attracted to going to university in Scotland:

“This will inevitably draw students in with Scottish changes coming later than English ones. As well as this though, the actual quality of education and general student experience attracts people up here. I don’t think it will have too big an effect.”