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Scotland rejects fees and calls for Scottish Solution

12 October 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU in responding to the Browne review, is calling for a Scottish solution to the funding crisis in higher education which excludes student fees.

The Scottish political parties, reflecting public opinion, have rejected fees making the market proposed by Browne based on variable fees a non-starter here. Instead the Scottish Government must find ways to continue to support higher education rather than diminish the public spend as has happened in England.

UCU said the review of Scottish higher education needs to seriously look at forcing big business to finally pay its fair share for the numerous benefits it receives from higher education.

UCU Scotland, however, welcomes a proposed rise in the threshold above which students have to pay back their debt, although it is still below that recommended in the Cubie review. As the loan system is UK wide this should also apply in Scotland and the Browne proposal represents a more realistic level at which graduates start to gain from their degree in terms of salary.

Though most Scottish students will not be directly affected, those having to study in England will face the new fees, and the fee levels for other UK students coming to Scotland will have to be changed to avoid an influx of students attempting to avoid the swingeing increases.

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: 'Most of the Browne recommendations are not only unworkable but also totally at odds with the egalitarian Scottish higher education sector. It is essential for the future of our system that state continues to invest instead of looking at ways to squeeze money out of students. We believe any review of Scottish higher education needs to seriously look at forcing big business to finally pay its fair share for the numerous benefits it receives from higher education.

'The increase in the threshold at which students start to pay back loan is the only sensible recommendation in the Browne report and, if implemented, should also apply in Scotland. Unfortunately so will the increase in the loan interest rates, so we call on the UK government to fully consult with the devolved nations before implementing changes in the student loans system.'

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