THE number of fee-paying English students being accepted for courses at Scottish universities has risen by more than 9 per cent in a year, new figures show.
Statistics from official admissions body Ucas show that a total of 37,390 applicants from the UK and the rest of the EU have won a place to study at Scottish institutions – up 1.9 per cent on 2012-13.
However, while the number of Scots being accepted is up by 1.6 per cent, the number of students from south of the Border rose by more than 9 per cent.
The number of Scots – who have their tuition paid by the Scottish Government – is capped, but there is no limit on the number of students universities can recruit from the rest of the UK, with some institutions charging up to £9,000 a year in fees.
A total of 27,990 of Scots have been accepted to Scottish institutions, up from 27,550 in 2012-13. The number of English applicants being accepted rose from 3,830 to 4,180.
In contrast to previous years, the number of students from elsewhere in the EU, who also receive free tuition, fell by 4 per cent, from 4,280 to 4,110.
Education secretary Mike Russell said: “These figures confirm earlier publications from Ucas and point toward a record year for Scots being accepted into universities in Scotland. Our policy of free tuition and the best package of support available in the UK means there has never been a better time for Scots to make the most of what our world-class universities have to offer.”
Gordon Maloney, president of the National Union of Students (NUS) in Scotland, said: “These figures are great news for Scottish students.”
But Tory education spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said : “The Scottish Government is happy to promote free university education on one hand, then grab the money of English and non-EU students with the other,” she said.
“This policy is actually harming Scottish students.”