The University of Edinburgh is to raise fees for undergraduate students from the Rest of the UK (RUK) from £9,000 a year to £9,250.
Edinburgh University has become the first university in Scotland to raise fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the UK government lifted the upper limit on tuition fees in England. The decision to raise fees by £250 has been condemned by both the NUS and Edinburgh University Students’ Association.
The Students’ Association has claimed that current students will be unaffected by this fee increase, and will continue to pay existing fees for the duration of their undergraduate degree. Students who join the University from 2017/18 onwards will have to pay the increased fee.
President of the Students’ Association, Alec Edgecliffe-Johnson, said “despite the protections for current and low income students that we were able to secure, we’re profoundly disappointed that fees have been increased yet again, meaning prospective Edinburgh students are now facing some of the most expensive undergraduate degrees in Europe.”
Vice President Academic Affairs, Patrick Garratt, said “this latest fee rise is part of a deeply worrying trend of the commodification of education, with the UK Government keen to transfer ever-increasing costs from the public purse to individual students. We’re calling on all Edinburgh students to resist this, and join tens of thousands of other students to demand a fairly funded higher education system at the NUS national demo in London on 19 November.”
Commenting on the rise, NUS Scotland President Vonnie Sandlan said: “It’s worrying to see the University of Edinburgh engage in a race to the top, charging ever higher fees for students from the rest of the UK. Ultimately, we cannot forget these increases have been driven by the policies of the UK Government, and further increases in fees in England, but Scotland could have chosen to resist those moves. In Scotland, we’ve rightly rejected the very worst of the market driven approach to education that we see in other parts of the UK, but it is particularly disappointing to see Edinburgh not show any restraint, instead seizing the opportunity to charge students more.
“It’s important to remember that these rises potentially make Edinburgh the most expensive place to study in the UK, with students from outside Scotland paying fees over four years, rather than the three years they would spend studying in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland – and that’s without taking into consideration the high cost of living in the city. All of this comes without any of the protections and support that Scottish and other UK students who study in England see – around additional support and efforts to boost access. Instead, students from the rest of the UK coming to Scotland fall through a gap in the system.
“Ultimately, it will be the poorest and most marginalised students who will be worst hit by these fee rises. We hope that the University of Edinburgh reconsiders its decision to increase costs for future students, and other universities consider their position, before saddling their own students with further fee debt. We’re proud of Scotland’s commitment to widening access to our universities, but that commitment to fair access cannot stop at a border.”
The University of Edinburgh has not yet commented on the fee increase.