It’s a debate that has reached boiling point this week with Edinburgh University announcing that it will charge English, Wales and Northern Ireland students £36,000 for a 4-year degree (that’s the full £9,000 a year) but not Scottish students!
Many people in England are pretty annoyed about this, the Daily Mail even calling it ‘tuition fee apartheid’. It may be nowhere near as bad a racial segregation and systemic prejudice across a whole society – but it does seem pretty unfair.
Degree courses tend to last four years in Scotland (instead of the usual three you get elsewhere in the UK) Edinburgh has decided to charge £9,000 a year in tuition fees for non-Scottish students, bringing the total cost to a massive £36,000.
Students who are resident in Scotland do not pay tuition fees at Scottish universities.
This is angering many people. The National Union of Students Scotland attacked Edinburgh saying charging that much for a degree is was "both staggering and ridiculous".
They are now the third Scottish university to decide to charge the full amount for students from the rest of the UK. But Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt universities said they intended to cap their fees at a maximum of £27,000 for a four-year course (that’s £6750 a year).
The thing that makes this seem most unfair if the fact that because of European Union students from EU member states are entitled to free education in Scotland. Because the UK is seen as one member state, this rule does not legally apply to the individual states of the UK.
The University of Edinburgh claims it will offer "the most generous bursary package within the UK for those on the lowest household incomes".
But are people right to be annoyed by this?
With Westminster having raised the fees for the all universities in England, is it wrong to criticise the Scottish Parliament and universities for maintaining free higher education for students in their country?
This could be seen as necessary to prevent all students from the rest of the UK only applying to universities in Scotland?