Over a quarter of a million Scots have graduated from university since the SNP abolished tuition fees, new figures reveal.
Since 2007, 258,623 Scottish-domiciled students have completed full time degrees, according to figures compiled by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe).
The SNP Government on gaining office in 2007 acted swiftly to scrap the graduate endowment tax - a backdoor tuition fee introduced by Labour and the Liberal Democrats - for students graduating from April 2007.
It was Tony Blair’s Labour Government that introduced tuition fees immediately on gaining office on 1997, despite having made no mention of it in their manifesto. Since then tuition fees have soared, to £9,250 a year in England under the Tories and £9,000 in Wales under Labour.
Earlier this year Commissioner for Fair Access, Professor Sir Peter Scott, praised the policy of free higher education, saying that figures showing a record number of students from poor backgrounds “vindicated” the approach, writing:
“The latest figures vindicate Scotland’s policy of free higher education. This has aims apart from making universities more socially inclusive, not least the commitment that higher education should be seen as a public good from which society as a whole benefits.”
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The SNP is and will remain, the party of free education and it is heartening that more than a quarter of million Scots have graduated since we scrapped Labour’s backdoor fees.
“Every Scottish student now knows that they are accessing education as a right and not as customers. Free tuition is a central part of Scotland’s social contract alongside free prescriptions, our fairer tax system and approaches like the baby box, to ensure that people are better off under a socially inclusive SNP Government.”