Free tuition for Ukrainian refugees at Scottish universities

Ukrainian refugees will be able to study at Scottish universities free of charge this autumn. Under proposals from the Holyrood government, Ukrainians will qualify for home fee status, meaning the £1,820 fees for undergraduate courses will be covered by the university. 

Additional living cost support will also be available to Ukrainians who are eligible to apply to one of the Homes for Ukraine, Ukraine Family, or Ukraine Extension schemes. This will entitle applicants to up to £8,100 a year in bursaries and loans to make beginning a university course possible. Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s higher education minister, said: “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.”

These changes will come into force in August, if approved by MSPs in early May. 

Ukrainian students already studying at a Scottish university are able to apply for assistance from a £1 million fund for those facing hardship. This new emergency fund will also be open to applications from any international student who is struggling as a result of conflict or persecution in their own country. Matt Crilly, Scotland president of the National Union of Students (NUS) said: “Our places of education should always be safe havens for all those affected by war and persecution – this is a practical step towards this vision.”

This comes as Universities UK announced a similar initiative whereby UK universities will be matched with counterparts in Ukraine. Under this scheme, Ukrainian academics will be able to continue to teach their students online whilst also having access to academic resources. So far, around thirty UK institutions have signed up, including three based in Scotland.

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Rachel Keane

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May 2022
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