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Wings Over Scotland

Learning by example

Posted on August 02, 2014 by

One of the more persistent scare stories deployed by the No campaign is the claim that Scottish higher education will be crippled by a Yes vote, thanks to the weight of applications to Scottish universities from students in the rest of the UK, who will then be entitled by EU law to free tuition, whereas they currently have to pay up to £9000 a year (with the figure set to increase).


For good measure they also claim that tens of thousands of young Scots will be “frozen out” of university education by the flood of incomers from, in particular, England. Those damn foreigners, eh?

It sounds like a solid argument. But is it?

Under European law it’s possible to discriminate between students from different parts of one state – but not between students from different parts of each state. Accordingly, the notoriously truth-modifying “Better Together” campaign has insisted that such an exemption would end should Scotland become independent – while simultaneously, of course, insisting that a Yes vote would leave Scotland outside the EU, and therefore not bound by EU laws.

A Scottish Government study examined how funded university places in Scotland would be divided under a number of different scenarios taking account of potential increases in demand from English students wanting to study in Scotland. It found that thanks to the current policy of charging rUK students, the numbers of English students choosing to study in Scotland has remained at 2%.

If there were no such restrictions in place, the numbers of English students choosing to study in Scotland could easily dwarf the indigenous population’s student base. Due to the disparity in population sizes, an increase in English students from 2% to 10% of the total would indeed see up to 93,000 non-fee-paying students descend on Scottish universities from south of the border.

So how is this circle to be squared? One possibility is that EU law allows member states to continue to selectively charge student fees in certain circumstances. Essentially the Scottish Government would have to prove to the European Commission that fees must be maintained in order to avoid the university system in Scotland becoming “distressed”.

The figures above suggest this distress would be real and severe, so would hopefully result in a special dispensation from the EC on charging fees. But should the dispensation not be forthcoming, there are other avenues available. So let’s have a look at what another European country does.

Germany operates a system of charging fees, but offset for German students through the “Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz” (Federal Training Assistance Act) which is mercifully shortened to “BAföG” by those using it.

BAföG-loans are usually given out in two parts; half as a zero-interest loan (repaid only after the graduate exceeds a certain income level, as in England), and half as a grant. High school students, however, get the full amount as grant money if eligible.

To qualify for BAFöG, a student must generally be a citizen or permanent resident of Germany, or have lived in Germany for five consecutive years. This dodges the rules about discrimination, because citizens of any EU nationality can apply, subject to meeting the residency criteria.

This same system of grants for study is also used in the Republic of Ireland. It was examined by the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee (chaired by Ian Davidson MP) in their analysis of university funding post-independence. The report was typically negative and resulted in a fierce backlash from Professor Bryan McGregor – vice principal of Aberdeen University – and his Glasgow University counterpart Professor Murray Pittock, who branded the report “hyperbole and fiction”, saying:

One has to admire the doggedness of the Committee in its efforts to make the most of the bad material it has had to use but its conclusions are not supported by the limited evidence presented.”

Before going on to note:

“In the evidence in the main body of the report we discover that ‘legal advice sought by Universities Scotland provides a potential way forward for the Scottish Government. It notes that the Scottish Government could use a maintenance grant based on residency requirements to offset fees charged to Scottish students’ – this is the current position in Ireland.

So the worst outcome that the Committee appears to suggest is that a Scottish government would have to charge fees but could compensate Scottish resident students by paying them a maintenance award.”

The lessons for Scotland are obvious. Scotland could, if it lost the case for dispensation, charge all students fees but then make maintenance grants available to students based on residency parameters rather than nationality basis. Scottish students would then technically be charged, but get the full amount back as a grant, making their tuition free in practical terms.

The threat to Scottish university funding/Scottish student places, then bears no relation to reality. One way or another, it will remain possible to keep tuition free for Scottish students but charge others in order to prevent “tuition tourism”.

Alex Salmond might face some jeering about his “rocks will melt with the Sun” line on fees, as technically they’d be back. But for Scottish students still able to get a top-quality education without being burdened by tens of thousands of pounds of debt by the time they were in their early 20s, we suspect that’s something they could live with.

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    1. 02 08 14 17:28

      Learning by example | Scottish Independence News

    102 to “Learning by example”

    1. Croompenstein says:

      Thanks for that Scott it’s something they have been beating us with. So Alex may have to back track but he won’t be the first politician to do so(Clegg and the Libs)

    2. RMFBrown says:

      Another nail in the BT coffin.

    3. JimnArlene says:

      If rUK withdraw from the EU, rUK students will have to pay tuition fees, if they choose a Scottish university. NAE sayers can’t have it both ways.

    4. Ken500 says:

      After 4 years Unionists including D. Alexander, who was party to their introduction, admit increased student fees, ‘room tax’, and privatisation of the NHS were wrong.

      Thank goodness the Scottish Gov was right.

      A Referendum and election are coming along.

    5. Holebender says:

      Going down this fees & grants route would also mean an end to free higher education for other EU students studying in Scotland. The best solution would be some sort of reciprocal agreement to charge students whatever they’d be charged if they studied in their home countries.

    6. Brian Powell says:

      It would be reasonable for the EU to give dispensation for the distress caused to the Scottish University system, considering the greedy attitude of the rUK Government by comparison to all other EU countries fees and charges.

    7. Johannah Buchan says:

      Surely it’s simpler than that. What’s to stop a varsity refusing an application because they deem the entrant’s qualifications are “inadequate”. You’re assuming that Scottish varsities HAVE to accept every English applicant.

    8. Josh says:

      That’s great except for: SAAS funding for tuition fees isn’t based on nationality as that would be racism. SAAS is already based around residency. What we can learn from Germany is that it’s possible to award funding based on PARTICIPATION, eg. If you’ve gone to a Scottish high school for 3 years you get your fees paid

    9. Glass Girl says:

      I don’t understand what the problem is. Yes, Scottish students get free tuition but they still have to apply for it through SAAS who still pay the fees to universities on the students behalf – tuition is not really free, just funded by the Scottish Government. Surely this system is already similar to the German one unless it’s been changed since I graduated?

    10. jon esquierdo says:

      With Ian bayonet them Davidson in the chair what else could we expect.

    11. Drunken Hobo says:

      You have to wonder how people – especially Labour supporters – can go along with this argument: “Look, the education system in England under Westminster is so broken & unfair that you’ll get tens of thousands of education tourists, coming to use your superior system if you go independent. You’d better just stick with Westminster then.”

    12. Grouse Beater says:

      Tuition fees for any higher education are an anathema, to my mind, wholly unacceptable.

      It would be better to propose free courses remain, offered to anybody resident five years or more, their stay here formally validated.

      That way the wealthiest parents planning for a Scottish education for their offspring will have subsidised them for a good number of years, money spent in Scotland for rent, food, transport, and goods, income offsetting free tuition. It’s a policy worth researching to ensure its viable. Paying for your education is privatisation no matter who controls it.

      Once that happens, universities begin preparing students not for life and their chosen vocation, but for the needs of companies and the market place, as universities are apt to do now, eschewing learning for learning’s sake.

    13. YoungNED says:

      Sorry Scott, I have to be pedantic here for a second – SAAS pay Scottish students’ fees based on residency, not nationality. Selection based on Nationality would be discrimination, never mind it’s clash with EU law.

      Our residency requirements mean you have to have lived here for three years prior to the start of your course – independence would mean that (unchanged) that system would contravene EU law. The way Germany gets away with BAFöG is not because of residency, but of participation in their hugh school system for a set time (for the full grant, at least).

      It is ‘participation’ that makes it acceptable, not ‘residency’. I’ve already written to Michael Russell suggesting the change you talk about (whether it’s a Yes or not).

      Other than that, perfect explanation of why BT are talking out the wrong orifice.

    14. YESGUY says:

      O/T folks but found an interesting piece about electricity supply .

      Cynical Highlander brought it my attention and what a read this is.

      Sorry about the size of the link took it from address bar.

      Buggers are always threatening us with something or other and they’re in no position to do so.

      Piss off iScotland and your lights go out.

    15. Ken500 says:

      Application could easily be based on Scottish qualification and post code in the first instance.
      Universities can guaranteed places provided the relevant qualifications are attained.

    16. ScottieDog says:

      Discussion on how increasing student fees actually cost the govt more in defaults…

      If students can’t find a job how can they repay their loans!!

    17. YESGUY says:

      I think that “free education” in an iScotland will be written into the constitution. Most folk want guarantees for the future and our Health services and education are what matters to most. If it’s in the constitution then they will find a away.

      Don’t know the ins and out myself so cannot comment on how it’s to be done.

    18. Croompenstein says:

      Another gold for Charlie Flynn Go Team Scotland and the medals given out by Dick McTaggart, Flower of Scotland tears blinin me again, makes up for no Cairnstoon this morning 🙂

    19. M says:

      Just a note – NUS Scotland hasn’t been Labour dominated for at least the past 3 years. In fact the current president is a socialist very firmly in favour of independence.

    20. Les Wilson says:

      Scotland just got 2 more golds in the boxing. Flower of Scotland raising the roof.

    21. Murray McCallum says:

      Seems to me that there are several possibilities for protecting Scotland’s education system that has served us well being separate from Westminster’s direct control.

      I truly hope that Scottish tertiary education doesn’t get dragged into the mire of student debt in order to be harmonised, in the event of a no vote, with south Britain.

    22. Student hack says:

      Just a correction: NUS Scotland is NOT Labour dominated. (NUS UK is down south, but not up here.) For the last few years, NUS Scotland has been wholly run by the pro-independence far-left, and that’s set to continue. NUS Scotland’s position is that free fair and funded education for all should be achieved by expropriating the banks and taxing the rich.

    23. Roy Ingram says:

      O/T but I have heard rumours about a very substantial new oilfield discovery by BP off Shetland. This is not going to be announced until after the referendum.

    24. DaveDee says:

      o/t no doubt me being paranoid again but at Flower of Scotland for Charlie’s gold not once did it show the crowd in the arena while it was sung, probably a sea of Saltires but we never got a chance to see. I think they turned the sound down as well.

      Sad I know but it annoyed me.

    25. Bill Brady says:

      Theres an EU directive that equates qualifications across memeber states so the idea of supporting scottish qualified students wouldnt work, oh wait were not going to be in EU, oh I give up….

    26. john king says:

      Totally patronising bit on the English commonwealth games show when the get a tame Glaswegian to talk in the local patios while putting up (English) translations on the screen,
      anyone remember them doing that with Cockneys during the Olympics?

    27. seoc says:

      O/T I seem to recall the artificial furoré when ‘Flower of Scotland’ was virtually adopted as the People’s choice of National Anthem and the SNO – the Scottish National Orchestra was hurriedly renamed to RSNO.
      This continual opposition to our determination to govern our own affairs without foreign interference has been running a long time.
      Going back to the 60’s I attended a football match at Hampden between Scotland and Wales in which the band played ‘Land of My Fathers’ to welcome the Welsh folk, but then played the old dirge asking the Westminster god to crush ‘rebellious Scots’. The ‘Scottish’ press yapped long and loud at this, carefully not mentioning their obvious discrepancy.
      The Union is over. Period.

    28. Cyberniall says:

      England seem to want out of the EU, regardless of how we vote next month, so I wouldn’t worry too much…

    29. G H Graham says:

      Of course the real story is that “Flipper” Darling’s Archipelago of Armageddon (AKA Better Together/NoThanks/Not Today We’re British/Borders without Biscuits or whatever they are called these days) completely contradicts itself with every bullshit argument …

      Eg. An independent Scotland can’t charge English students tuition fees because European law forbids it.

      meanwhile …

      An independent Scotland will be thrown out of Europe.

      “Flipper”, unlike swapping the designation of his primary home against which he claimed expenses, he can’t have it both ways this time.

      If we are indeed thrown out of Europe then none of the European rules apply so Scotland can do whatever it wants.

    30. Independent Scotland will be subject to EU Laws and regulation after loony-lapper Ian Davidson and Every BT toadie has reliably told us Scotland will be Barred from EU membership?

      Scotland produces 25 per cent More Electricity than we use.
      (see YESguy link above)
      BECAUSE Westminster “Retains Energy POLICY Powers”, Scotland exports almost 11,000 Giga watts to England and 2,000 Giga watts to Ulster.

      Ulster – that Controls Scotland`s Ancient Borders (since 2011) and Controls Passport Processing over Scots since 2007.

      Brown, Darling and SLAB scabs in Govt in 2007 spitefully chose to shift Passport Processing from Glasgow – to Belfast – on the 300th Anniversary of the Act of Union of 1707.

      Zero Return of our Ancient Scottish Rights are “On Offer” from BT or Darling or BamCam or Clegg.

      Freedom`s just another word for nothing left to Lose.

    31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Just a note – NUS Scotland hasn’t been Labour dominated for at least the past 3 years. In fact the current president is a socialist very firmly in favour of independence.”

      My bad, not Scott’s. Have removed the line.

    32. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “What we can learn from Germany is that it’s possible to award funding based on PARTICIPATION, eg. If you’ve gone to a Scottish high school for 3 years you get your fees paid”

      One would assume that to go to school somewhere you’d also have to live there.

    33. Croompenstein says:

      The great Meh fest kicking in, Great War Diaries on EBC2!

    34. Robert Louis says:

      The bottom line is, there will be a remedy available to any Scottish Government, to ensure its democratically chosen policy of free higher education for Scots would continue. Nobody in the EU WANTS to intentionally stop such policies, so they would find a way to make it work. For the anti independence campaign to suggest otherwise, is just more of their typical hogwash scaremongering.

      As an aside, earlier today, watching a bit of diving, and the commentator actually said, ‘this week has really shown the potential for English/British diving. Colonial broadcasting courtesy of the BBC, ‘live’ in Scotland.

    35. john king says:

      wantom wampum says
      “Freedom`s just another word for nothing left to Lose.”

      What? this you mean?

    36. “One would assume that to go to school somewhere you’d also have to live there.” – well that is the kind of crap that you have to come up with to get around beurocratic rules. If it works don’t knock it!

      OT – just submitted my poster design for the Bella contest that finished the other day – no idea if they’re accepting late entries.

    37. Robert Louis says:


      What the unionists do not want you to know, is that an iScotland selling electricity to England is something for which there is a current (excuse the pun) precedent. The Isle of Man (not part of the UK or EU) currently sells electricity to England.

    38. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      Yes good article. Lights going out over Europe as the Russians cut off their gas supply at a moments notice so obviously they will be queuing up to build new interconnects and supply England with cheap electricity.

      England need us to keep the lights on as they do not have enough power supply options.
      So we are in a very strong negotiating position on many issues post Yes.

      Fundamentally we do not need them – they need us and they know it.
      But they cannot admit it – subsidy junkies – that is all we are.

    39. john king says:

      He’s a likely lad Simon,
      we’ll wait for Paula’s response. 🙂
      I think maybe the tights are a bit, well , you know, much 🙂

    40. Morag says:

      Don’t listen to him Simon, I like it.

    41. john king says:

      Oh and Morag comes out with the rapier and delivers a coupe de gras, ouch! 🙁

    42. Votadini Jeannie says:

      As a graduating mature student, I can tell you that we still have student debt in Scotland, accruing from any Student Loan required as a Living Allowance while studying. Those without wealthy parents to support them will still start off with some sort of debt, albeit less than if they’d had tuition fees to pay back too. As one who required the maximum loan over four years, I’m graduating with a debt of almost £25,000 and interest being added every day. I reckon that unless I get really lucky with a salary, I’ll be paying it back until I’m 86. Wonder if they’ll deduct it straight from my pension…

    43. Bunter says:

      After weeks of silence on the subject, Miliband issues statement that Cameron was wrong not to oppose Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

      Do is smell signs of a vile vote chasing chancer? And what says Labours friends of Israel?

    44. Croompenstein says:

      I remember the euphoria we felt when New Labour swept to power in 1997, I was in my third year at college and for those 3 years I had received a bursary so in effect it cost me nothing for that education. Sitting in the refectory after the euphoria and finding out one of the first things they done was do away with that bursary well that’s when reality kicked in and I left the Labour Party.

    45. Paula Rose says:

      I think a codpiece would help.

    46. Morag says:

      If you really like being crushed, John, it’s “coup de grâce“.

    47. john king says:

      “I think a codpiece would help.”


    48. john king says:

      sorry Morag but Ive got to invoke the 7 second rule here,
      I waited and waited for that response but 22 minutes is way too late. 🙂

    49. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Hi Guys,

      We’re specifically talking about NOT basing decisions on nationality, but on RESIDENCY for a period of time REGARDLESS of nationality.

      Live in Scotland for 2,3 or 5 years (whatever they choose) and you’re entitled.

    50. Paula Rose says:


      cheese and onion 🙂

    51. Paula Rose says:

      (Sorry Scott – could not resist)

    52. Robert Peffers says:

      @Johannah Buchan says:2 August, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      “Surely it’s simpler than that. What’s to stop a varsity refusing an application because they deem the entrant’s qualifications are “inadequate”. You’re assuming that Scottish varsities HAVE to accept every English applicant”.

      Perhaps even more simple than that would be for English Educational qualifications not to be recognized in Scotland.

    53. john king says:

      Oh btw Paula Irene’s asking if you know of a show at the fringe in the meadows in a circus tent, its called “Bangkok lady boys”
      I dont know if anyone would be interested in the two tickets she bought?

    54. Paula Rose says:

      (Go and enjoy the show honey – careful, the Rev does not like his threads being covered in smut)

    55. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Secondly, we’re not saying that UNIs have to accept every application… but they cant discriminate against them either and that WILL mean pushing lots of Scots out of the frame just by sheer weight of numbers.

    56. john king says:

      “careful, the Rev does not like his threads being covered in smut)”

      Isnt that what you pay the guys a the traffic lights to wash off?

    57. a2 says:

      The method of funding study in the rest of The UK is so rubbish that everyone will want to come to Scotland to be educated.

      That’s an argument for the UK?

    58. Devorgilla says:

      There are far more than 2% of English students at Scottish universities. Where do they get that figure from? Half of Edinburgh university students are English, same at St Andrews. These are our top universities too.

    59. john king says:

      Back on subject
      “Secondly, we’re not saying that UNIs have to accept every application… but they cant discriminate against them either and that WILL mean pushing lots of Scots out of the frame just by sheer weight of numbers.”

      A mutual or cooperative interchange of favors or privileges, especially the exchange of rights or privileges of trade between nations.

      I dont get why this is not the standard?
      you charge for our students to study in your country, we charge your students to study in our country?

    60. Defo says:

      Not so sure Scott. Having the fee’s set at a commensurate rate with England will take the incentive to move here away.

    61. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Thirdly, we weren’t talking about the current system but a future state. If ScotGov wanted to charge fees and offset them via a maintenance grant to keep tuition funded from general taxation then it would probably be done via SAAS and use residency rules as the basis of award.

      At no point are we talking about the student loan system (which as a graduate I can also say will see me greyer than not before paid off)

    62. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      “There are far more than 2% of English students at Scottish universities. Where do they get that figure from?”

      [Bangs head on desk repeatedly]

      Ok folks… 2% of ENGLISH students go to Scottish Universities.

      The research has shown that up to 10% of ENGLISH students could apply for places if free.

      At 10x bigger than Scotland – 10% of the eligible ENGLISH students is about the same as ALL Scots students that would be eligible and apply.

    63. Defo says:

      Devorgilla . Don’t let the accents fool you. I lived in the middle of Edinburgh student land for years. You see them turn up with mum & dad, with a variety of Scot’s accents, but before you can say ya, they all adopt the same annoying twang.
      I think they get some sort of medication in freshers week that makes them all talk that way. ie home counties, crossed with valley girl.

    64. My mind and intent is pure and noble. Anyway, after the English pound tanks and the Scots pound doesn’t, even if tuition fees are waived then I would think most English university students wouln’t be able to afford the cost of food, rent and textbooks.

    65. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      “Having the fee’s set at a commensurate rate with England will take the incentive to move here away”


      This is the point. We need to reduce the numbers who would apply to maintain them at present levels.

      If the rUK wants to make education a market then we make it a neutral choice for Scotland (not better or worse off).

    66. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Robert Peffers

      Scottish Highers are not accepted by English Universities.

      The will look at the number and quality of the certificates and then require an interview.

      One of my daughters studied in England, luckily when the fees were a lot lower than now and she had three days of interviews before she was accepted.

    67. Patrician says:

      There is no “free” education in Scotland, all university fees are paid by the SAAS. If a student forgets to fill out their yearly SAAS fees application form they will have to pay their own fees to the University if they want to continue studying. There are residency rules for each student applying to the SAAS, it is usually 3 years residency in Scotland directly prior to the application. My son’s application had a bit more investigation as he spent his Primary School years in England and we had to provide all details of where we had lived since moving from England. For Scottish students studying outwith Scotland, IIRC the SAAS will pay the fees upto the amount they would pay a Scottish University for an equivalent course.

      The argument should be that if Scottish courses were cheaper than similar courses in England then English students would flood into Scottish universities to save money. As this has been happening for a few years, with fees of upto £9000 are being charged, and there has been no flood of English students, it just shows it up for the empty scaremongering it is.

    68. Defo says:

      Scott. That’s what I said mate.

    69. Johannah Buchan says:

      Scott Minto why can’t they “discriminate”? Oxbridge does it all the time in favour of private school students. As far as I remember Abdns charter says they have to be responsible for university education in N & NE. They also ask if you have any relatives who are graduates. So I was 2 steps ahead to start with.

    70. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      They can discriminate EXCEPT on nationality, Race, Sex, Gender, Disability etc…

      But grades required, type of grades, ‘interviews’ and so on can be done.

      That’s why you cant just say ‘No, we already have lots of English students escaping from fees south of the border’

    71. Robert Peffers says:

      @Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:2 August, 2014 at 7:35 pm“If the rUK wants to make education a market then we make it a neutral choice for Scotland (not better or worse off).”

      Isn’t the whole point of Scottish independence that we can choose to be, or not be, in agreement with the EU. The same goes for The English Kingdom. We tell them all that if they don’t like it then we are not about to join in anything we dislike. That sets the agenda for negotiations and compromise on both sides.

    72. Ken500 says:

      There are reciprocal agreements – exchange student.

    73. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Robert Peffers

      I would expect the issue of fees to be one of the points discussed during EU negotiations.

      And to be honest, given the history, I would be surprised if dispensation wasn’t granted (it wasn’t Scotland that caused the issue to arise).

      But the point is, if its not granted then we still have options to allow us to maintain ‘free’ education for Scots students.

      Of course, as noted by holebender above, this could impact on other foreign students so isn’t ideal either – which is another argument for the dispensation.

    74. Defo says:

      O/T. So much for the impartiality of Massie Jr. He was kidding no-one anyway with that line.
      “There are still seven weeks to go, and a lot of US wish it were over. Campaigners for a Yes vote think differently, if only because they are lagging in the polls, and know that if the referendum were this week, Scotland would reject independence. Naturally enough, they still hope to turn this round, even though the polls have hardly moved all year.”

      Same piece, slightly different topic. Those separatists must be to blame for the Israeli theatre company packing their bags.

      “Even before Hitler came to power, Nazi hooligans in Munich disrupted performances of Erika Mann’s cabaret, The Pepper-Mill. A year or two later they were burning Jewish books. It’s a short step from one form of violent censorship to another. Next step: demanding that public libraries and bookshops don’t stock novels by Israeli writers? Next step: burning the books themselves?”

      Book burning ffs ! It was only a matter of time.

    75. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      The reciprocal agreements are access to education on the same basis as the nationals of the country you choose to study in – and vice versa.

      Its the rUK that’s out of step with the other EU nations on this (and away to raise the fees once more from the sounds of it).

      At some point other nations will get fed up offering to educate rUK students at reasonable prices but not get the same service back.

    76. Croompenstein says:

      Let’s not forget they are selling the student loan book to debt firms

    77. Defo says:

      O/t again. Sorry, but the bastards are going to use this on Tuesday.
      What does MI5 have on Alex Murray ?

    78. Devorgilla says:

      The admissions procedures at Edinburgh University (and probably St Andrews) favour English students from English public schools over Scots with Highers from state schools, as these public schools know all the tricks for getting their students in. It is not a level playing field. Plus, as so many staff members at Edinburgh are English and understand the English A level system better they are more apt to select students from a similar background. A level results also come out before Highers, and if it comes to an interview, Scottish students perform less well because of the cringe in comparison to students from English public schools. It is hard to get around culture and institutional prejuduce. It’s hard to prove definitively that there is prejudice.

    79. Ken500 says:

      Anyone is entitled to their minority opinion. Members of LibDems, Tories and Labour Parties members are voting YES. LibDem and Tory councillors are voting YES. LibDem? Mrs Steele voting YES. Swings and roundabouts. It’s surprising.

      Lord Jack McConnell voting YES?

    80. Ken500 says:

      Reciprocal agreements with other countries but the rest of the UK. Exchange students.

    81. Croompenstein says:

      @Defo – me and Nana Smith are discussing this on the next thread, black op written all over it..

    82. Defo says:

      Devorgilla. Go for a wander around the Southside mate. I can see where your coming from, but all those happy shiny Chinese kids didn’t go to Eton.
      St Andrews… another story. No comment.

    83. kininvie says:

      If anyone wants to read the legal opinion obtined by Scottish Universities on this matter, it’s here (and worth wading through).

    84. Robert Peffers says:

      So much absolute claptrap has issued from Better Together from the very start of this campaign that it is really difficult to take them seriously. The whole point about Scottish Independence is that we have choices and we have had a great hand dealt to us. BT have nothing like as good a hand and it is thus BT that must try the bluff.

      Scotland is a net exporter of food, fuel, water and power. That means we can not only maintain our people in all four areas but have a surplus to sell. On the three country Kingdom Of England’s part they are net importers of all four vital commodities and thus needs import to survive.

      This is apparent in the statistics that, even considering the UK treasury creative accounting, show the Scottish per capita GDP higher than the UK average. I could pick out, without even trying, at least a dozen ways the Treasury figures have been fudged in favour of the Kingdom of England and long term UK figures prove this has been the normal situation as far as we can trace records back.

      Another plainly common sense fact is that international bodies are all in the business of gaining as many members of like mind as they can recruit. The Strength of, for example, NATO, lies in the simple fact that together they form a formidable force but to maintain that force they need to maintain their membership. One member lost is a potential member for their opposition. Why would NATO therefore refuse Scotland as a continued member to please England? All they need do is tell both disunited Kingdoms they are continued members but must renegotiate terms.

      Same goes for the EU, UN, WTO and any other international organisation you care to think of. Why for example would Spain act against Scotland? They have the largest fishing fleet in the EU any opposing Scotland would see them chased out of Scottish international waters and Europe’s finest fishing grounds. Why would Northern Ireland oppose Scotland – we export electricity via an undersea line to them. We export over 26% of our electricity to England and own 95% of the UK’s oil & gas current output. In spite of all the bluff and bluster just what exactly does Scotland need from England that we don’t have ourselves?

      Anything they can manufacture, so can we. There is nothing I can think of they have that we need – other than a convenient market that we could soon replace if they were playing hard-ball. We have the best hand in this game of brag – so good in fact that we really only need brag to increase what’s already in the pot.

    85. cal says:

      Bill Brady @5.41pm.
      Can you supply a link for an EU Directive that regulates how school qualifications are made equivalent across the continent? I’ve done a bit of digging but can’t find anything-only stuff that relates to professional qualifications to make it easier for people to move around for work. There’s an interesting article here -to-scottish-universities-free-after-independence/

      It’s written by a Danish guy and he explains how Denmark handle a similar situation to our own but in their case with neighbouring Sweden. Tuition is free in Denmark but in Sweden it’s eyewateringly expensive. Danish and Swedish are very close languages so it’s possible for Swedes to get a free eduation at the expense of Danish tax payers. Denmark rigged the equivalence of school qualifications in response.

      That’s in Danish.Sorry don’t have a translation but have a look at the above blog which is in English.

    86. Ken500 says:

      The Polls are skewed. The weighing is not being included into the YES tallies. Members of Other political parties who will vote YES and people who never vote eg in general elections, but who will vote YES. The Pollsters know but they are being paid to skew the results. If the proper weighings were included the Polls would stand at over 55% YES. NO less.

      The pollsters are not declaring their relevant interest. The receipt £Millions of (Grants) public money from BT (illegally) funding these Polls. BT are embezzling £Millions of public money to fund unethical Polls and fund the NO campaign. BT should be made to return these funds to public finances or be held personally responsible for amounts. BT should only be funding Polls with their funds. There have no legitimate authority to use Public money. They are not elected. Their front personal and main contributors live in London and do not have a vote in the Referendum.

    87. Croompenstein says:

      That’s the difference between us and the neo-liberal Westminster agenda in that we want to invest in our young folk from nursery all the way through to higher education and it’s not about ability to pay but just ability.

      and didn’t the future King meet his future Queen at St Andrews?

      I don’t care who you are or where you’re from I don’t mind helping the young folk in our Scottish establishments and surely the goal must be that more opportunities will be available in an independent Scotland for our young folk to stay and also the ‘foreign’ young folk to stay and work and contribute in Scotland

    88. I think there’s another important point here. Most Northern European countries not only have free education, but have adverts, encouraging people to come to their countries, and study for free.

      Why? As I see it, it takes a very special kind of mentality to see attracting lots of bright young people to your country – many of whom are likely to stay. Yes, we’d need to make sure that there were enough places at Scottish universities for Scottish resident students (perhaps through quotas), but having loads of bright young people move up from England would be the simplest way to reverse the centuries old brain drain, which would more than pay for the cost of the fees in the long run.

      Put it another way: in the 1960 California education act, they made education free for students not just from California, but from every American state. The result? They’re the guys who got Silicon Valley.

      Free education for English students is ine of the best investments in Scotland’s future I can think of.

    89. sorry, I mean “As I see it, it takes a very special kind of mentality to see attracting lots of bright young people to your country – many of whom are likely to stay *as a bad thing*”.

    90. MolliBlum says:

      This article also gets a new slant here:

    91. Croompenstein says:

      @MolliBlum – It makes us all wonder how folk can be so thick but more power to you for engaging with it

    92. kininvie says:

      Personally, I’m quite in favour of the idea of offering free tuition to English students (provided there was some kind of way of limiting the disproportionate numbers…

      It would put the noses of Oxford and Cambridge SO out of joint as we creamed off the best talent, that it’s almost worth doing for that alone…

      On a more serious note – As you’ll see from the legal opinion I linked to above, EU rules allow discrimination where it is objectively justified, and I would have thought Scotland could make a good, objective case. (The Swedish/Danish case cited above is very interesting)

    93. Mike says:

      This uni charge fee is bullshit. There are no students in Scotland entitled to or receiving a free education. It is paid for via the revenue services. If English students wish to pay their fees in Scotland via the revenue service then fine but if not then they should pay them direct.
      End of argument and scaremonger.

    94. Chic McGregor says:

      Been saying that for years. If they had adopted a bursary or grant recompensation system it would avoided all complications and objections.

      When I was a student LEAs could award grants for living expenses although it was a bit of a postcode lottery as to how much you got.

    95. You and My Comb says:

      Interesting article here on student debt in England and Wales

      The unpaid debt will become national debt again some time in the future. I think the EU stats body wanted uk to continue to account for student debt as national debt but I don’t know where I read that.

      The amount of student debt will surely cause long term economic problems by limiting available cash that graduates will need for mortgages, children and goods.

    96. Cuilean says:

      Excellent article. I can’t wait to read a bout it in the papers… oh that’s right, they don’t report anything which dispels union lies and fearmongering. Once independent could the Scottish people not sue the press barons & BBC? Or at the very least, for those who cry it’s ‘free speech’ (i.e. ‘free lies’ for Better Together, a public enquiry on the independence of both the press barons and the BBC?

    97. Finnz says:

      Cav Scottish universities not change the entry qualifications to be at least 4 highers. I believe English students only sit 3.

    98. You and My Comb says:

      Another article. Oxbridge gets to collect their student debt but are free to bump up fees to £16k a year. The costs of becoming prime minister is increasing

    99. Derek M says:

      i really dont get all the fuss about this ,its made out to be a Scottish education problem but really it isnt ,after indy we just continue to do as we do now ,if by some reason lots of bright young English students suddenly descend on Scotland for a free education then instead of making do with the current infrastructure we should expand it by building new universities and welcome them with open arms ,after all a lot of them might decide to stay and work in Scotland ,if anything it will be a problem for England as they watch a drain on their intellectual capacity because they have priced education beyond these students.
      Lets not get caught up in the greed of westminster`s education policies and be a nation that embraces education as the future of our country and not on where students come from or their ability to pay,as every new student coming to our country will not be a drain they will contribute back into the economic cycle of Scotland by spending in Scotland, money must be moved around society to create a balanced consumer society and not this broken economic cycle we currently live under thanks to westminster and its mismanagement.

    100. Absolutely right. The Student Awards Agency for Scotland already uses a residency-based test as part of its criteria… As long as Scotland makes the same residency criteria apply to all EU citizens, there is nothing to stop them from making it difficult for English students to parachute in and get something for nothing. Any people from other EU countries (including rUK) that make a commitment to Scotland by living and paying taxes here for several years prior to studying will be welcome to have their fees paid. I can’t see there being any problem framing rules which treat everyone the same, but encourage commitment to the Scottish economy and education system.

    101. ross says:

      sorry for being off topic but does anyone know of any celebrations being planned in Edinburgh on the 19th when the YES result comes in. Im living out the country but im flying in on the 18th so I can say I was there lol
      It would be great if there was a planned get together in every city and town.

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