EU nationals enrolling in 2018-19 to study in Scotland have been guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their course.
Following the EU referendum, the Scottish Government stated that “there has been no change in current funding arrangements and that eligible EU students already studying in Scotland or commencing their studies in the coming months will continue to benefit from free tuition.”
This same guarantee has now been extended to EU students enrolling the following year.
In the academic year 2014-2015 EU students accounted for 12% of the University of Glasgow student body. This year, Glasgow has seen a 7% drop in the number of EU applicants.
The status of EU students has been uncertain since the Brexit vote and the “hard Brexit” route was taken, but the announcement, made just before the triggering of Article 50, aimed to provide some reassurance on the matter.
Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, stated: “I am proud that Scotland is a destination of choice for EU students and I am delighted to give them further reassurance by confirming that support from the Scottish Government for tuition-free studies will continue for those commencing courses here in the 2018-19 academic year.
“However, the continued refusal by the UK Government to give assurances to EU nationals living in Scotland that their rights will remain in place, ahead of the formal Brexit procedures beginning next week, is deeply concerning.
“EU students will rightly have concerns about any change in their status half way through a course. These students deserve certainty and knowing that their free tuition is in place for the entirety of their course is important, that is why I have confirmed this free tuition.”
Director of Universities Scotland, Alastair Sim, told Holyrood Magazine: “Today’s announcement from the Deputy First Minister is both welcoming and assuring for the sector.
“Since Brexit, we have continually highlighted many of the issues that will impact higher education and have called for clarity.
“EU students are of huge importance to Scotland and its universities: educationally, culturally, economically and as a core part of many important courses.
“It’s right that the Scottish Government have given clarity for students who will be thinking about choosing Scotland to learn, study and contribute.”