Have you heard about a free university in Scotland? Wondering if it is too good to be true? Perhaps you’re having trouble finding clear, concise information about university fees in Scotland? EDUopinions has the answers you are looking for!
Scottish universities are exceptional in the UK not only for the quality of education but also for their tuition fee schemes. While it is true that many students can attend university in Scotland for free, there are some important exceptions. In this article, EDUopinions will explain the basics of university fees in Scotland, helping you understand what opportunities exist for your education.
Is university education free in Scotland?
In short, yes and no. Depending on your citizenship and residency, you may be eligible for free university in Scotland. Scottish and EU citizens benefit from highly reduced tuition fees at £1,820 per year. Compared to the tuition fees at most English universities (around £9,250), this is already a great value.
If Scottish residency comes into the equation, you may not have to pay anything at all. For Scottish/EU citizens having lived in Scotland for three years prior to the start of their university degree, the government pays their £1,820 in tuition fees.
In summary, if you are a Scottish/EU national who lived in the country for three years before starting university, then you should not have to pay university fees in Scotland. To clarify, this applies only to students undertaking their first degree at a public university.
Can I move to Scotland to avoid tuition fees?
Thinking ahead, you may want to move to Scotland before university, hoping to qualify for free education. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to make you eligible for reduced tuition fees. The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) stipulates that in order for the government to pay a student’s £1,820 in fees, they must be ordinarily resident in the country. This means “‘habitual and normal residence in one place, …that you need to live in Scotland permanently, year after year, full-time and only leaving for holidays. If your main reason for living in Scotland is for full-time education, you are not classed as being ordinarily resident.”
Take the following as an example of ordinary residency: Hannah was born and raised in Germany until she was seven years old. Then, she and her family moved to Scotland, where she finished school and where she now wants to attend university. Because she is an EU citizen (German) who lived in Scotland for the three years before she started university, she would be eligible for free tuition.
How much are university fees in Scotland?
As already stated, tuition fees in Scotland depend on your citizenship and residency. For Scottish/EU citizens resident in the county, university fees are zero. Most other EU citizens who lived outside Scotland would pay £1,820 in university fees in Scotland.
The reason we say “most” other EU citizens benefit from this reduced rate is because English, Welsh and Northern Irish citizens (known as “rest of the UK” or RUK students) are required to pay £9,250. Students of all other nationalities pay international fees which range from £20,000 to £40,000+ depending on the course. As you can see, university fees in Scotland depend on a variety of factors and circumstances. If you have any other questions, reach out to EDUopinions to get individualised advice about your university career!
What other expenses should I expect?
Of course, as great as “zero tuition fees” may sound, there will always be other expenses when it comes to university. Whether you are planning to live in university halls or find an apartment of your own, accommodation is another large expense to take into consideration. In addition, money for food, nights out, entertainment, school supplies and the little things should also factor into your budget planning.
While everyone spends differently, it is important to plan ahead and think about what you may need or want to spend money on beforehand. Doing so can give you time to find a job, apply for bursaries or adjust your spending plans. For more advice like this, check out our posts on the best student jobs and when to apply for student finance.
Why study in Scotland?
Finally, it would seem unfair to Scotland and its universities if this article did not address why studying there is so great! Aside from the affordability, a university in Scotland offers students many unique advantages. Unlike in many other European countries, undergraduate degrees in Scotland typically last four years. With another year in university, students have the opportunity to explore their interests early on and then specialise in their third and fourth years.
Another advantage of studying in Scotland is the opportunity to enjoy Scottish quintesentials like some of the world’s greatest whiskeys, the softest cashmere knitwear and the cosiness of a warm pub on a cold winter’s night. Others may enjoy exploring the vast natural landscapes the country has to offer. For outdoor enthusiasts, Scotland has a policy of “wild camping,” meaning that hikers can spend the night almost anywhere in the country. Or, maybe you are keen on trying Edinburgh’s famous fried Mars bars!
Whatever catches your interest, this is all to say that in addition to the university fees in Scotland, there are many positives of studying there.
If you have any questions or want to know more about Scottish universities, check out EDUopinions other blogs or reach out to be connected with personalised university advice! You may be particularly interested in our article on the pros and cons of studying in Edinburgh!