The University of Glasgow has announced a rise in fees for Rest of UK students from £1,820 to £6750 per year for most students. This was announced on Wednesday 28th after Stuart Ritchie, SRC President, vowed to fight any rise in fees for RUK students. Plans for this rise have been evident since a similar announcement in English universities last year. Principal Anton Muscatelli told qmunicate at a dinner in May that the Senior Management Group had no choice but to follow this route to prevent the University becoming a first choice learning destination purely on cost.
The increase in fees is likely to raise the question once again about the legality of charging RUK (Rest of UK) students more than Scottish students to attend university, while still allowing other EU students to attend at the expense of the Scottish Government. EU anti-discriminatory laws state that EU citizens must be treated as citizens of any EU member state of which they are resident. However, as neither Scotland, nor England, Wales and Northern Ireland are EU member states, but do all have individual Higher Education legislative powers there exists a loophole.
Other Glasgow Universities have already announced their increases. Strathclyde University has announced RUK fees will be capped at £27,000, meaning fees of £9,000 for three years with a final year of study free. Other Scottish Universities, such as Aberdeen and Herriot-Watt have also announced fees capped at £27,000 however, Edinburgh University is set to become the most expensive destination for RUK students with fees of £36,000. Thus far, the University of Glasgow remains the cheapest Ancient Scottish University for RUK students.
One Glasgow University student from England said, “It’s outrageous on two counts; firstly, that we are expected to pay such an enormous amount of money when, in this current climate, where we have to go to university in order to get the jobs we want, it creates a culture where education is purely the preserve of those with means. On a second count, it endangers Scotland’s historic commitment to free education for all. How long will it be before they make Scottish students pay too?”
A Freedom of Information request, submitted by a qmunicate contributor, revealing all correspondence between Glasgow University Senior Management Group and the SRC President exposed that no reference to student fees was made between 1st June 2011 and 12th August 2011. An SRC spokesperson has however pointed out that, due to the fact SMG and the SRC Executive meet regularly, it is very unlikely that issues such as fees would be discussed in email rather than in person.
The GUSRC response to the University’s announcement insisted that the Council were pleased in securing a figure that was not the £9000 maximum and the availability of some bursaries for students unable to afford the fees.