MISSING Russian student Yulia Solodyankina disappeared after discovering she would not receive an honours degree from Edinburgh University.
On June 6, the day before she vanished, the 21-year-old learned she would be awarded only an “ordinary degree” in physics.
The next day she was spotted on CCTV at Buchanan Street Bus Station in Glasgow – and has not been seen or heard from since.
A friend of Yulia’s, who asked not to be named, said the “stressed” student had not passed her fourth year exams, meaning she could not graduate with honours.
And at what should have been her graduation ceremony on Monday, her name was missing from a list of students awarded an honours degree.
The revelation may help explain why, despite anguished appeals for her return, the student has disappeared without trace.
Boyfriend of six months Antoine Dao, 21, would not comment on suggestions that Yulia had disappeared because she wanted to escape final year stress. He said: “That is just speculation and nothing more – I really have no idea of where she has gone.”
But friend Matthew Crisp said the possibility had “crossed the minds” of those searching for her. He said: “We have wondered about that and it’s been quite a big, possible reason for us – that she ran away to get away from the stress.
“I’ve heard that the police have a few leads and are following them up. It’s difficult to know what to do because the range of places that she could be is vast, and it’s difficult to know where to target the campaign. We are at a bit of a loss as to how to go forward.”
But he said friends were determined to continue looking. He said: “We are going to keep getting posters printed and keep putting them up in places like Skye, the other islands, Fort William, Inverness – places we know from bus timetables that she could have travelled to.”
The official programme for her graduation ceremony on Monday lists most of Yulia’s classmates under the heading “Bachelor of Science with Honours”. But Yulia’s name appears under “Bachelor of Science”.
An “ordinary degree” – one without honours – is given when a student chooses to leave at the end of third year or does not pass fourth year.
Police revealed earlier this week their search is focusing on the Highlands and west coast.
Chief Inspector Mark Patterson, of Police Scotland, said: “It is now almost a month since Yulia was last seen, and we remain keen to speak to anyone who may have seen her.”