Russell: Tuition Fees Not Part of the Picture

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Tuition fees will not be reintroduced in Scotland despite the financial crisis, says the Scottish Education Secretary, Michael Russell….

Tuition fees will not be reintroduced in Scotland despite the financial crisis, says the Scottish Education Secretary, Michael Russell.

In order to insure that Scottish universities remain competitive and well funded, Mr Russell has pledged to set up a consultation aiming to publish a Green Paper on reform in 2011.

It is understood that the reforms considered are likely to involve universities working closely with other organizations in society. The University of St Andrews is already making use of private sector funding and it is thought that other institutions may be encouraged to follow suit.

There has been concerns that English universities may be given an advantage of Scottish institutions by being able to raise tuition fees even further, should the expected recommendations in the Browne Report be accepted when the report is published in the autumn.

Mr Russell hit out at such a thought, saying that: “We have set our face firmly, and in my view correctly, against tuition fees”.

The Scottish Government abolished the graduate endowment as part of meeting one if its key manifesto pledges at the 2007 Holyrood elections.

Mr Russell accepted that a funding gap exists and could be widened after the Browne report, but insists that Scottish universities have accepted the Scottish Government’s position on tuition fees and they are working with him on alternative funding ideas.

Tuition fees in England and Wales are capped at £3,225 per year. However, the issue of tuition fees south of the border is divisive as the LibDems have called for fees to be scraped in the past.

Mr Russell continued, “after Browne I will discuss with many people how we move forward. One of the options will be to publish a Green Paper on the sustainable future for higher education in Scotland.”

“There is no single solution to this. I suspect it will take us until the middle of 2011 to get this secure and then I think we’ve a real prize. We can say we have agreed the strategies that will give us a sustainable future.”