Legal challenge to Scots over charging English students

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The Independent Online

The practice of charging English students to study in Scotland, while Scottish students attend universities there for free is to face a challenge in court.

Scottish students studying within their homeland are currently spared the tuition fees levied on their English contemporaries.

Now, a lawyer is claiming that the disparity contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights by discriminating against students from poorer backgrounds in other parts of the UK.

Paul Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, who is acting on behalf of two English students – Callum Hurley, from Peterborough, and Katy Moore, from London – also believes the practice could go against the Equality Act 2010, which outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, among other characteristics. Under the current rules, the 22,000 English students in Scotland pay tuition fees of between £1,820 and £2,895 a year. From next year they will have to pay up to £9,000.

The Scottish government has insisted the policy is legally sound. A spokeswoman said tuition fees are "based on 'ordinary domicile' not nationality".

She added: "In an ideal world, no students would pay fees. Our main priority has to be to protect opportunities for Scottish students to study at Scottish institutions by maintaining free education north of the border."

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