Students backlash over call to make Scots pay for university education

STUDENTS have hit out at suggestions that free university tuition in Scotland should end as senior academics questioned the “sustainability” of the SNP’s flagship policy. The Herald reports.

A university principle, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “it is time to look at a gradual increase in tuition fees for Scottish students – or at least consider it”, as the current funding model is “unsustainable”.

But Liam McCabe, the president of the National Union of Students in Scotland,  said there should be more not less support for Scotland’s students, so that they are not burdened with debt.

Mr McCabe said:“NUS Scotland has and always will assert that education is a right, not a privilege. It should be ability that determines how far students go in education, not the depth of their pockets – and it’s right that the Scottish Government remains committed to free tuition.”

Now academics have publicly stated that Scottish society should be open to debating university funding.

Elizabeth Smith, the Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman, said: “I am not surprised by these calls, particularly at a time when there are many issues about the SNP’s ‘capped places’ policy.

Peter Mathieson, the principal of Edinburgh University, said fees might have deterred him from attending university in his youth but acknowledged high-quality tuition is “expensive”.

“Whether it is paid for by tuition fees, governments or loans, that is a debate we can have in society.”

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, the principal of Glasgow University, said “society will periodically go through this debate” about free tuition, but warned the majority of Scots are unlikely to back a change in policy.

Read the full article Students backlash over call to make Scots pay for university education

What do you think? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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