Scottish universities welcome free tuition pledge for Ukrainian students

The Scottish government announced that it would present plans to MSPs to offer Ukrainian students settling in Scotland access to free tuition and support with living costs

Universities Scotland has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish government plans to offer displaced Ukrainian students free university and college tuition.

Holyrood announced on 14 April its intention to offer students settling in Scotland access to free tuition and living cost support for the 2022-23 academic year. The decision is pending a vote in the Scottish parliament.

The minister for higher and further education, Jamie Hepburn, said the government wanted to give students fleeing the conflict in Ukraine “the support they need to start or continue their higher and further education”.

“By extending home fee status and living cost support to students arriving from Ukraine, we hope to provide some stability and assurance at this deeply troubling time and ensure those forced to flee their homes can live safely and comfortably in Scotland for as long as they need to,” added Hepburn.

To be eligible, students must have applied to the Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family or the Ukraine Extension schemes. Ukrainian students already studying in Scotland and experiencing financial hardship can apply to an immediate assistance scheme worth £1m, called the International Students’ Emergency Fund.

Universities Scotland – which represents 19 HE institutions – said its members were “appalled at the continuing desperate crisis in Ukraine” and wanted to offer “the best possible support to students affected”.

“We strongly welcome the Scottish Government’s decision about fees status and living cost support for Ukrainian students seeking refuge from the war and commencing studies in Scotland in the new academic year,” said Universities Scotland’s director, Alastair Sim.

“We also welcome the announcement of hardship support for students affected by the conflict who are already studying here, which will complement universities’ own work to offer practical and pastoral support.”

If approved by MSPs in early May, eligible students will be able to access free tuition and living cost support of up to £8,100 per year in bursaries and loans from August. For those entering further education, the government will offer bursary and grants of up to £4,668 each year.

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