Fees row

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IN A week in which the National Union of Students in Scotland (your report, 25 March) and some others have made contentious statements about the Scottish Government charging students from England tuition fees, I cannot make my mind up whether these are politically motivated, plainly silly or just naive.

The problem is entirely of England’s making. There is no such thing as a free university education. It is either paid for by the student and his or her connections, or it is taxation funded by the government.

In practical terms, England – out of step with all of progressive Europe – is driving the less well-off out of university education. Scotland, on the other hand, is using its very under pressure budget to ensure that higher education is available to all on the basis of ability and ambition and not on the size of the family bank balance.

I can see no reason why the Scottish taxpayer should relieve the English taxpayer of the obligation to match for English students the Scottish taxpayer’s contribution to Scottish students’ education. It’s really quite simple. English students can get a free education at Scottish universities if Westminster provides the appropriate funds – £9,000 per head per annum would do the trick.

I don’t see the NUS calling for free university education for Scottish students in England, which one would have thought would have been a rather more responsible and suitable use of its canvassing efforts.

Dave McEwan Hill

Dalinlongart
Sandbank, Argyll

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