Yet more devolved discrimination

Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities, which are the most popular in Scotland with students from the rest of the UK,  have decided to charge  £36,000 for a four-year course- their degree courses will be the most expensive in the nation.

The SNP’s Education Secretary  Mike Russell has (bearing in mind his party is the architect of the discriminatory tuition fee policy) hypocritically criticised the two institutions.

 Robin Parker, president of the National Union of Students in Scotland, said:

“We’re deeply disappointed that fees for students from the rest of the UK studying in Scotland will go ahead as planned.

“The average degree in Scotland will be more than the maximum allowed in England, and we’ll have two institutions where £36,000 degrees will be the norm – way above the typical degree cost in England.

“We cannot accept the excesses we’ve seen from some Scottish principals for this coming year, with mortgage-level degree costs and no protection for widening access for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

However, the Northern Ireland Conservatives’ spokesperson, Annika Nestius-Brown has raised an interesting point with regards students born in Northern Ireland and wanting to study in Scotland:

“We’d previously flagged up what appears to be a glaring loophole in the rules for Scottish universities, and it now appears that universities’ admissions departments themselves believe that an Irish passport will entitle students from Northern Ireland to free tuition, while Northern Irish students holding a British passport will have to pay.  It is outrageous that one student from Northern Ireland may be able to get their course for free, while their next door neighbour could be charged £27,000 for the same degree at the same university, just because they hold a British passport rather than one from the Republic of Ireland.  In fact it’s difficult to imagine a more straight forward case of discrimination.”

“The Scottish Government must clarify immediately whether the qualifying criterion for free fees is residency in another EU country or simply holding another state’s passport.  The confusion emphasises how absurd and discriminatory the developing situation around university fees is – with different prices for students from different regions of the UK.”

“It’s wrong that English, Northern Irish or Welsh students should have to pay more than Scottish students, or those from elsewhere in the EU, to take degrees in Scotland.  It’s absurd that Scottish, Welsh and English students should have to pay more than Northern Irish students or those from the Republic of Ireland, for example, to take a degree in Northern Ireland. 

Not sure the DUP would agree with that last comment… but even they (hopefully) wouldn’t argue with this one:

And it’s absolutely preposterous that some universities are indicating one student from Northern Ireland may be charged £27,000 for their degree, while another gets it for free because they hold an Irish passport! 


A UK Unionist and also confirmed devo-sceptic.
I believe the creation of devolved “governments” in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, along with the corresponding unsolved “English Question”, has weakened that Union.

The present-day Conservative Party would be the national party which would come closest to representing my political beliefs. I have previously belonged to the “Friends of the Conservatives” and the UUP but am no longer connected with either party.

Outside of my Unionism, I consider myself as an economic libertarian, social liberal and secularist- e’g. am pro-choice, anti-schools segregated on the grounds of (parents’) religious beliefs.

Very suspicious of NI’s Human Rights’ Oligarchy (in particular the NIHRC) and hope to be writing on this topic, as well as wider UK and European political issues.