The SNP has been urged to offer clarity to EU students hoping to study in Scotland next year, after the UK Government guaranteed funding for them south of the border.
Since Britain’s decision to leave the EU, there has been some uncertainty over what access European students will get to grants and loans.
But while ministers in England have now confirmed those students will get the same financial help for 2017/18, and for the subsequent years of their course, the Scottish Government has been silent on the matter.
It means universities in the rest of the UK can plan adequately for a post-Brexit future, while those in Scotland are yet to know the make-up of future intakes.
Universities minister Jo Johnson confirmed the move today, saying EU students would get the same access to financial help even if the UK formally leaves the EU while they are still studying here.
Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:
“It’s incumbent upon the Scottish Government to provide full clarity on what will happen in Scotland’s universities.
“For three months now, the SNP has done little else other than criticise the Westminster Government, keeping entirely silent about its own policies in the process.
“This is despite decisions on university fees in Scotland being an entirely devolved matter.
“Today’s announcement from the UK Government is extremely welcome, particularly when we know Brexit will have a significant impact on higher education and the associated funding streams.
“That’s why we need an urgent response from the Scottish Government, so EU students know exactly where they stand.”
Notes to editors:
The UK Government made the announcement today: