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Union critical of Aberdeen fee announcement

26 August 2011

UCU Scotland has criticised the announcement that Aberdeen University will charge £9,000 fees per year for students from the rest of the UK.

In a statement* to the Scottish Parliament in July, Mike Russell stated that universities could charge variable fees for other UK students up to £9,000 a year. This effectively introduces the English system in Scotland and goes against the SNP promise to not introduce tuition fees in Scotland. However, the Minister has stated he expected Scottish Universities would show restraint and not charge the full fee and has stated that £6,375 is a competitive figure.

Aberdeen University is defying the Minister by charging the full fee, all be it for a maximum of three years. However, many students with 'A'-levels can be admitted straight into the second year of the 4 year honours degree and will end up paying £9 000 for all three years.

UCU is concerned that variable fees could bring chaos to the admissions system as universities attempt to set fees at different levels to maximise this extra funding stream from English students. UCU believes that system which is financially neutral for individual universities is a better option which will avoid the headlong rush to recruit fee paying students from the rest of the UK.

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: 'We are disappointed that Aberdeen University are to set headline fees at the highest level and though the discount reduces the average fee, students will end up paying more to study in Scotland than even in England. Our worst fears that some Scottish universities will ignore the Minister and charge the highest possible fee are already coming to fruition.

'We call on the Minister to think again about introducing a market for other UK students which will bring chaos to the admissions system for many years to come.'

*In Mike Russell's Ministerial Statement on Higher Education in the Scottish Parliament on 29 June he announced a consultation on his plans on fees for other UK students.

Last updated: 11 December 2015