The SNP’s scrapping of tuition fees has allowed 270,000 Scottish students to graduate free of charge since the policy was introduced a decade ago, figures from SPICe have shown.

Today marks 10 years since the Graduate Endowment Abolition Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament – removing the backdoor tuition fees introduced by Labour and the Lib Dems. This policy ensured that students in Scotland would not have to pay for tuition either during or after their studies. By stark contrast, Tory policy south of the border sees students charged up to £9,250 a year for attending university. The Welsh Labour government also charges students to study in Wales.

Since the fees were scrapped in 2008, Scotland’s universities have gone from strength to strength – climbing up the international league tables, improving access for those from the most deprived communities, and seeing more people apply to study.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“As we reflect on a decade of free university tuition in Scotland, it is clear that this policy has been a resounding success – giving 270,000 people the opportunity to gain a qualification free of charge.

“The scrapping of Labour’s unfair graduate tax has been transformational for many people across Scotland – and stands in stark contrast to the Tory approach south of the border, which forces people to pay tens of thousands of pounds to get their degree.

“And just this week, the Scottish Government announced yet another significant investment in our universities and colleges, which will benefit from £1.8 billion in funding for the coming year, money which will help us achieve our aim of ensuring students from the 20% most deprived backgrounds represent 20% of university entrants by 2020.

“With more students applying thanks to the SNP Scottish Government’s unwavering commitment to free tuition, it’s clear that more and more people will graduate from our world-leading universities in the years to come.”

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