An English student seeking to settle in Scotland as a lawyer says she is suffering “discrimination” at the hands of the student support system north of the Border.
Rebecca Jeynes is now calling on MSPs in a Holyrood petition to back her call for a change in approach in Scotland towards youngsters in her situation.
The 21-year-old is set to graduate in Scots law at Edinburgh Napier University this year. But she must then complete a one-year diploma in Legal Practice before being able to work as a lawyer.
But the £7,700 costs are prohibitive and Jeynes says she is being denied up to £10,000 in loan support, including living costs, which is available not only to Scots students – but also other EU students.
“If EU students are able to get funding then I’m an EU citizen as well,” she said.
“I decided I wanted to do something about this.”
The situation has echoes of the system for undergraduates in Scotland. Scottish students have their tuition fees paid for by the Scottish Government, while English, Welsh and Northern Irish students pay up to £9,000 a year. But an anomaly in European law means that students from other EU countries are exempt from the fees.
Jeynes, from Redcar in the northeast of England, has already spent £26,500 in course funds and another £33,500 in everyday costs during her time in Scotland.
She first sought support south of the Border from Student Finance England, but was told the Diploma in Legal Practice was not covered because it is not a Masters. When she turned to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for help, she was told that she was “not ordinarily resident” in Scotland. This is despite having studied in Edinburgh for the past four years and having bought a flat in the city four months ago where she has since been living.
“I feel it is discriminatory against English students because EU students can get funding for this,” she said.