Scott: Scottish Government must take steps to limit Brexit effect on university sector

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today called on the Scottish Government to ensure that universities and students do not lose out as a result of Brexit. 

Mr Scott commented after the publication of the Auditor General’s report into higher education. The audit identified the challenges of widening university access to universities to students from deprived backgrounds as a result of funding constraints.

The report also noted that universities are growing more dependent on fees paid by non-EU students which may further affect the number of Scottish students offered places on undergraduate courses. 

Commenting, Mr Scott said: 

“Today’s report notes that universities are already relying on income from international students. European funding is currently worth almost £90m a year but uncertainty over the future after Brexit means universities may look to non-EU students as they try to claw back losses from research grants. As has been reported this week, many research staff across the UK are already concerned about the impact of Brexit on future funding applications and I urge Audit Scotland to look afresh at what this could mean here in Scotland.

“The report shows that the numbers of students going to university from poorer backgrounds is not increasing quickly enough. College cuts and a reduction in places targeted at those least likely to go to university are already having an effect. The last thing these students need is to suffer if universities lose staff as a result of Brexit. Whatever happens with the negotiations, Brexit must not limit the chances of Scottish students who want to study and who deserve a place at university.”

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