Scotland Extends Free Tuition Fees After Court Case - Freshered
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Scotland Extends Free Tuition Fees After Court Case

Jasmyne Jeffery May 17, 2023

It has one of the best deals for students in the UK, if not wider. As of 2023/24, it will be even more inclusive, as Scotland’s free tuition fees cover migrant students and more.

Scotland will now extend their eligibility for tuition fees after a court case in 2022. This will come into place for the academic year 2023/24, meaning the process will be different for students currently applying.

The decision comes after one student was denied Scotland’s free tuition. This was because they were two months short of the required residency, despite living in Scotland for 9 years.

Free Tuition Extended To More Students In Scotland

Next year, students will have only had to have lived in Scotland for three years to pass residency criteria. They will also have to have been granted leave to remain if applicable.

Even more, unaccompanied children who are asylum seekers and also those who are children of asylum seekers.

Only last week, new First Minister of Scotland Hamza Yussain said that he was committed to free university tuition for all Scottish students. There is no doubt that this is definitely a step in that direction.

Graeme Day, First Minister in Higher and Further Education said that “Scotland has a strong track record in supporting our young people.

“In addition, the changes we are proposing to capture a range of immigration statutes will mean that all students, other than excepted groups, must now meet the same length of residence in the UK – three years – to access support.”

The change means that thousands more students will not only get free tuition but now be able to attend university in the first place.

Photo by Barney Yau on Unsplash

The change stemmed from a court case concerning one student

The landmark change in eligibility all stemmed from one student’s case that went to court last year.

Ola Jasim has lived in Scotland since she was 11. All of her secondary education was completed in Glasgow and she had impressive exam results.

However, when applying to the University of Dundee to study medicine, Ola was told she was 58 days short of meeting the residency requirements.

This meant that for her first year, determined to continue her studies, Ola’s parents had to cover her fees. Unfortunately, they had to borrow money to do so.

At the time, Scotland’s eligibility was the following:

  • Anyone under 18 on the first day of their university course must be ordinarily resident in Scotland and have lived in the UK for seven years to qualify.
  • Anyone aged between 18 and 25 has to have lived in the UK for either half of their life or 20 years.

As Ola was 20 years old, she was mere days off of living in Scotland for half of her life.

When the family appealed her case, the court ruled that the regulations were unlawful. They were in breach of her human rights, relating to education and discrimination.

The government will now pay for Ola’s university education, as well as the year that her parents had to cover.

The decision regarding Ola’s case will now affect many students in the future for the better. Her story forced the Scottish government to change its regulations. Now, they are now committed to proving a fair funding system for all.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.