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EU students to pay no Scots university fees despite Brexit

The Scottish Government will fund all tuition fees for those starting next year.

University: EU students currently pay no fees to study in Scotland.
University: EU students currently pay no fees to study in Scotland.

European students who start university courses in Scotland next year will have their fees paid for by the Scottish Government, the higher education minister has announced.

Shirley-Anne Somerville told MSPs in a statement at Holyrood on Thursday that students deserve clarity over their future in education, and a lack of it is already damaging Scottish universities.

The latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show the number of European students accepting offers to study in Scotland fell by 10% last year.

Around 13,500 students from elsewhere in the EU currently study here.

Somerville said: "Since the EU referendum, we have been clear that we want prospective students from the EU to continue to see Scotland as a place they wish to study, place to live and a place they can call home."

She added: "All eligible non-UK EU citizens who come to Scotland to study an undergraduate higher education qualification in 2019/20 will benefit from free tuition.

"This will provide confidence for prospective EU students considering coming to Scotland, as well as the clarity that our institutions require in order to plan for that academic year."

European students studying here currently pay no fees like their Scottish classmates as under EU law countries cannot charge more to students from other member states than they charge to their own citizens.

The law does not state students from other parts of the same member state must be charged the same rate, meaning English, Welsh and Northern Irish students pay fees to study in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has no plans to end fees for these students.

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