English Flock North for Cheaper Degree; Thousands of 'Fee Refugees' Apply to Scots Universities

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Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

STUDENTS from England are flocking north of the Border to avoid paying thousands of pounds in top-up fees.

From next year, those attending English universities face paying an extra [pounds sterling]3,000 per course.

As a result, many are choosing to study in Scotland, where the Scottish Executive has ruled out imposing the controversial levy.

Statistics published yesterday by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) show that 4,289 students from England were accepted on to Scottish higher education courses this year - a 5.5 per cent increase on last year.

They also show that, across the UK, record numbers failed to get places this year as thousands scrambled to beat top-up fees.

Ucas said 106,430 students eligible for clearing - where they By Graham Grant Home Affairs Editor try to find a course after failing to get into their chosen degree - did not receive offers, about 10,000 more than in 2004.

Just over 9,600 gave up looking for a place altogether, 2,000 fewer than last year.

University chiefs suggest the record competition for places - applications were up by 37,000 - was in part due to students trying to get into university before having to pay top-up fees.

A higher education source said: 'There is a perception among many students in England that Scottish universities are a cheaper option. This means Scottish universities are becoming more popular.' From next year, tuition fees will rise from the current levels of about [pounds sterling]1,200 to [pounds sterling]3,000 a year in England.

Overall, 404,670 students across the UK were accepted on to courses, an increase of about 7.8 per cent on last year. …