Free tuition to be extended following court ruling

Free tuition to be extended following court ruling

Graeme Dey

Eligibility for free student tuition support in Scotland will be extended to cover a wider range of immigration statuses following a court ruling.

The Scottish government has published its response to a recent consultation on student support residency conditions which was launched following the decision in Jasim v Scottish Ministers [2022] CSOH 64.

In that case, Lord Sandison held that there had been unlawful discrimination against a medical student who was just 58 days short of the required period of residence to receive support from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) on the basis of her immigration status.

Regulations have been laid in Holyrood to extend student financial support to those currently residing in Scotland who have been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK where they have also been resident for three years.

The proposed changes, for the 2023-24 academic year, will also see eligibility widened for asylum seeking children to remove the time limit which previously applied. It means unaccompanied asylum seeking children and the children of asylum seekers will be able to apply for tuition fee support.

Higher and further education minister Graeme Dey said: “Scotland has a strong track record in supporting our young people. I recognise the impact that any delay to an asylum claim can have on a young person’s education journey and I hope the changes set out here will go some way to address that.

“In addition, the changes we are proposing to capture a range of immigration statues will mean that all students, other than excepted groups, must now meet the same length of residence in the UK – three years – to access support.

“The public consultation and stakeholder engagement we carried out was generally positive about the proposed changes. We will now seek to engage on other important issues highlighted in the consultation.”

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