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English fee changes will increase Scottish students' debt

3 November 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Scottish students will be hit with an increase in their debt if Westminster plans to increase university fees and increase the interest on the debt are implemented.

The payment system for student loans is a UK wide system and could be changed without consultation with the devolved nations. The plans include a higher rate of interest on student loan debt which Scottish graduates would have to pay if earning above £21,000. Any Scottish student studying in England will have to pay fees of up to £9,000.

The union fears that if the £9,000 fees are introduced in England then the Scottish Government will be forced to increase the fee charged to other UK students to avoid an influx of students. However, setting a fee level that doesn't dissuade all UK students and finding a mechanism that doesn't increase funding universities get for those students will be complicated.

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

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: 'Most of the UK government proposals are not only unworkable but also totally at odds with the Scottish education ethos. It is essential for the future of our system that we look beyond ways to squeeze money out of students. It is time big business started paying its fair share for the numerous benefits it receives from higher education.'

'It is unacceptable that the increase in the loan interest rates is been foisted on Scotland and the UK government must fully consult with the devolved nations before implementing any changes in the student loans system. We support our English colleagues in their fight against the Westminster proposals.'