Impact of university tuition fees laid bare

The latest figures on university applications show the impact that tuition fees south of the border is having on prospective students from Scotland.

The number of people in Scotland applying to English universities has fallen by 15.7 per cent since last year, compared to a small reduction in applications from this group to Scottish universities of just 1.7%.

The total number of applicants to any UK university from English domiciles fell by 10% since last year, compared to a total fall of around 2% from Scotland.

Commenting on the impact that tuition fees south of the border is having, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell who convenes the Education and Culture committee said:

“The evidence from UCAS is clear, the burden of stratospheric tuition fees imposed by the UK Government in England is driving many young people away from studying.

“The very small reduction of applications of young Scots to Scottish universities where tuition is free stands in stark contrast to applications from prospective Scottish students to English institutions which have fallen by a staggering 16% in a single year.

“The SNP has been clear that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. That is a principle which we firmly committed itself to, which is why we abolished back-door tuition fees in Scotland when we came to power.

“Young Scots and their families can rest assured that the SNP will never introduce tuition fees for the people of Scotland. Labour must now commit themselves to free university tuition or face the charge that they are no better than the Lib Dems on this issue.

“A successful economy is a well-educated economy. It is in all our interests to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to access higher education, which is what makes the actions of successive UK Governments an absolute tragedy.”