A House of Lords peer today branded the price that English students will have to pay to study in Scotland as “scandalous”.
Most Scottish university courses last four years with maximum annual fees of £9,000, but Tory peer Lord Forsyth of Drumlean urged the Westminster and Holyrood governments to work together to “end the absolute scandalous discrimination against students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have to pay up to £36,000 to go to Scottish universities”.
The “unsustainable” situation means students from European countries outside Britain can enrol on courses in Scotland free of charge, while non-Scottish students from the rest of Britain are charged tens of thousands of pounds.
He added: “Scottish students go for free, Italian students go for free, French students go for free and anyone else in the European Union goes for free.
“This is not sustainable, it is unfair to our young people, it is bad for the union.
“Shouldn’t the Government act to do something?”
Scotland minister Lord Wallace of Tankerness said the UK’s various administrations would try to tackle the “sensitive” issue.
But he added: “Education is devolved right across the UK.
“This means all areas have made different decisions regarding the funding of higher education.
“Any change to the devolution settlement would risk a key principle of devolution: that the devolved administrations have the freedom to set devolved policies as they see fit.”
Labour’s Lord Morgan said the divide was “an obvious injustice which stains the good name of our universities”.