Scottish youngsters are losing out on "clearing" places at Scots universities at the expense of students from England and around the globe, it has emerged.
Home-based Scots will have roughly half the chance to access university "leftover" spots raising fresh concerns over the "cap" imposed by the Scottish Government to protect the system of free tuition.
Scottish youngstersdon't have to pay fees, which can reach £9,000 a year for students elsewhere in the UK, if they study at home universities. But places are capped to ensure the system is affordable. It has raised concerns in recent years that "straight A" Scots students are losing out on university north of the border.
And analysis by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed in the latest "clearing" statistics, there were only 1059 courses at Scottish universities available to Scottish students. Their English counterparts can access 2101 courses at Scottish universities and non- EU students can access 2372.
Clearing places are available to youngsters who don't achieve the grades to get into their first choice course and are forced to look elsewhere.
Recent UCAS statistics that showed that the number of Scottish students at Scottish universities has declined by 4 percent in the last year.
Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “Despite all their hard work, an increasing number of Scottish students lose out because of the discrimination which is inherent within the SNP’s higher education policy and that includes the clearing process for which the in-built attraction for universities is those students who pay fees.
“The university sector is facing very difficult financial circumstances thanks to SNP budget cuts, the net result of which is the growing pressures within institutions to take more students from fee-paying backgrounds.
“These most recent clearing statistics are further proof of the unfairness and the discrimination which affects Scots domiciled students.”