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Union comments on St Andrews fee announcement

9 September 2011

UCU Scotland has criticised the announcement that St Andrews 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.

St Andrews University is to charge £9 000 per annum leading to a fee of £36 000 for other UK students on four-year courses. Even without an extra year of study, the cost of living in and travelling to North East Fife will make studying there more expensive than staying in England but students may also face an extra year of fees.

UCU is concerned that setting the variable fee at the highest level will stem the flow of English students leading to the loss of the funds that the University is attempting to maximise. St. Andrews recruits half of its UK students from outside of Scotland, which the lowest proportion of Scottish students. UCU believes that a system which is financially neutral for individual universities is a better option which will avoid universities pricing themselves out of reach for most other UK students.

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: 'We are disappointed that St Andrews University has as expected set its fees at the highest level and for all four years of the Scottish honours degree, leaving students paying higher fees in Scotland than even in England. Only the wealthiest will now consider St. Andrews an option. This announcement goes even beyond our worst fears that Principals will ignore the Minister and charge the highest possible fee.

'We call on the Government to think again about introducing a market for other UK students as St Andrews is charging nearly £3000 above the average fee quoted in First Minister's questions in the Parliament yesterday.'

*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