V-cs slam Scots fee anomaly

April 23, 1999

Vice-chancellors across the country have condemned the "inequitable iniquity" of English, Welsh and Northern Irish students paying tuition fees for the fourth year of a Scottish degree, while Scottish and European Union students are exempt.

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals have called on the government to provide the Pounds 1.9 million needed to end the anomaly, which they warn threatens cross border flow of students.

Their evidence to the Quigley committee review of the anomaly claims there is already some evidence of a drop in English applicants to Scotland.

Figures from St Andrews, the bulk of whose United Kingdom students have comparable maintenance commitments, show that while Scottish applications have dropped by 4.5 per cent, those from the rest of the UK are down by 18.6 per cent.

"We can therefore conclude I that this drop in non-Scottish UK applicants is, to a significant extent, a result of the financial and promotional implications of the fee anomaly," the report says.

The CVCP and Coshep say they are dismayed by the timescale imposed for the submission of evidence to Quigley, which is due to report before April 2000. The two bodies won a short extension to the deadline, but say the foreshortened consultation period has prevented an analysis of 1998-99, the first academic cycle affected.

The government has suggested that the problem could be eased by non-Scots going directly into the second year of Scottish degrees. But Coshep and the CVCP say this is an unpopular option.

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