Scots Tories consider paying fees

January 22, 1999

The Conservative Party north of the border is investigating a scheme that would effectively abolish tuition fees for Scottish students, writes Olga Wojtas.

Party activists are researching the costs of an annual Pounds 1,000 award for four years for students from Scotland. The scheme is expected to be unveiled at the end of next week, when Conservative leader William Hague visits Scotland.

The Scottish Tories fear that axeing tuition fees in Scotland while they still exist elsewhere in the United Kingdom would mean Scottish institutions being swamped by non-Scottish entrants, as well as removing a source of institutional income. They are set to propose that the awards should come from the Scottish Parliament's general funds and follow students to their chosen college or university. Awards for students taking shorter courses south of the border or on longer courses are still under discussion.

Brian Monteith, education spokesman for the Scottish Conservative Party, said: "We have been conducting 'listening meetings' and tuition fees is one of the top five issues raised at every one."

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