Graduation fees scrapped at third Scottish university

Students from the University of Edinburgh celebrate graduating outside McEwan Hall in Edinburgh. 'Picture: Jane Barlow
Students from the University of Edinburgh celebrate graduating outside McEwan Hall in Edinburgh. 'Picture: Jane Barlow
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A student leader has written an open letter to all college and university principals across Scotland asking them to abolish graduation fees.

The latest move in NUS Scotland’s “Free to Graduate” campaign follows yesterday’s announcement by Robert Gordon University that it was scrapping the charges.

The decision comes after the universities of Strathclyde and Aberdeen announced they were ditching graduation costs.

A Freedom of Information request by NUS Scotland revealed that fees to attend graduation ceremonies vary at different universities but can cost students as much as £225.

The letter, written by NUS Scotland president Liam McCabe, challenges institutions to “follow the lead” of colleges and universities which have scrapped the “unjustifiable” charges.

Mr McCabe said: “Following our findings that Scotland’s students could be out of pocket by up to £225 for attending their graduation ceremony, NUS Scotland are campaigning to ensure every student is ‘free to graduate’.

“Today, we have published an open letter to all of Scotland’s college and university principles, encouraging them to engage with our campaign, step up to the plate and scrap these charges.

“We have already seen excellent, progressive work from some institutions across the country to abolish these charges and we want to see the rest doing the same.

“Working in partnership with NUS Scotland, student associations and the institutions, we can ensure that graduation is the big pay-off for students, not the great pay out.”

A spokesman for Universities Scotland said: Universities take different approaches to their graduation ceremonies and are consistently reviewing their processes to evaluate how they can bring the cost down for students.

“In some cases the ceremony is free to the student and guests.

“In others, the modest fee also means membership of university graduates’ associations or the equivalent over the longer-term.

“Many institutions make hardship or discretionary funds available to students who would struggle to meet these costs.

“Arguably, a modest contribution from students, where they have the means to do so, and discretionary funds in place for those students who do not, is a fair way to cover this rite of passage which is valued by the graduates and their families.”