Free tuition for Ukrainian refugees at Scottish universities

Holyrood creates £1 million fund for international students facing hardship

April 14, 2022
University of St Andrews
Source: iStock

Ukrainian refugees will be able to study at Scottish universities free of charge and receive living cost support, subject to parliamentary approval.

Under proposals from the Holyrood government, Ukrainians wishing to start a higher education course in Scotland this autumn will qualify for home fee status, under which tuition fees – set at £1,820 for undergraduate courses – are covered by the administration.

To qualify – and to be eligible for additional living cost support of up to £8,100 a year in bursaries and loans – applicants will need to have applied to one of the Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family or Ukraine Extension schemes.

Ukrainian students who are already studying in Scotland and are experiencing hardship will be eligible to apply for assistance from a newly created £1 million International Students’ Emergency Fund.

Regulations enabling the changes are set to be laid before MSPs in early May and, if approved, would come into force in August.

Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s higher education minister, said that the government was “determined to do everything we can to give displaced people from Ukraine the warmest welcome possible”.

“By extending home fee status and living cost support to students arriving from Ukraine we hope to provide some stability and assurance at this deeply troubling time and ensure those forced to flee their homes can live safely and comfortably in Scotland for as long as they need to,” he said.

“We have also created a new £1 million International Students’ Emergency Fund. This will help Ukrainian students already in Scotland who find themselves in hardship due to their situation, to continue their studies.

“Education opens doors to opportunities and transforms lives for the better so it is absolutely crucial we remove any financial barriers those displaced by the conflict may face.”

The new emergency fund will be open to applications to any overseas learner that faces hardship as a result of conflict or persecution in their home country.

Matt Crilly, Scotland president of the National Union of Students, welcomed the announcement.

“Our places of education should always be safe havens for all those affected by war and persecution – this is a practical step towards this vision,” he said.

Last week Universities UK announced a twinning initiative matching UK institutions with counterparts in Ukraine. Under this, Ukrainian academics will be based in UK universities, allowing them to teach Ukrainian students online, and giving them access to academic resources. Ukrainian students will also be able to take online UK university modules.

Around 30 UK institutions have signed up so far, including three in Scotland: the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

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