My understanding of the situation in Scotland with respect to student tuition fees is that all students will pay fees for the first three years of their degrees and the fourth year will be paid for by the authorities. The exception will be non-Scots UK students who will be required to pay for the fourth year of honours programmes. The arguments in support of this policy are unconvincing and, as you suggest, it is likely to face legal challenge.
The Government assumes that many more A-level applicants, for example, could and should be recruited into the second year of Scottish degree programmes than at present. This is only likely to be possible where courses are specialist in nature and in subjects normally taken at A-level. Many, possibly most, Scottish degrees are broadly based and/or vocational, and A-level applicants with their relatively narrow educational background are unlikely to be able to cope with entry at second-year level.
Edward J Smeall