Scottish Government
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Support for universities across Europe

The communiqué agreed at a European summit reinforces Scotland’s commitment to keep access to university free, Education Secretary Michael Russell said recently.

Education Secretary Michael Russell explained the national and individual benefits of the Scottish Government’s approach during a discussion on public funding for universities, at which the delegation supported the strong involvement of public money.

Mr Russell also had one to one meetings with the Austrian, Irish and UK Education Ministers and the EU Commission’s Director for Higher Education and international Affairs to discuss cross-border flows of students, with agreement to share information on student destinations after graduation with the Austrian Government and the European Commission.  

Mr Russell said:

“In Scotland, we have taken decisive action to ensure access to university remains based on the ability to learn. We have also invested in the sector to back this up and I was pleased to see this reflected in the European Students’ Association map showing Scotland is one of only three countries to have increased public funding.

“I believe that ensuring our most able students can study at university benefits Scotland as a whole because this ensures our workforce of tomorrow has the skills, knowledge and education they need to be a success and contribute to our economic future.

“That’s why I was pleased to see the communiqué agreed at the Bologna process conference has recognised and agreed to protect the importance of public investment in universities across the 47 EHEA countries – a pledge that I can wholeheartedly endorse.

“However students from other EU countries cost us around £75 million every year and we need to resolve this. Austria finds itself in a similar situation and we have agreed to share and analyse information on the destinations of graduates. I will also continue to work with the Commissioner to try and find a suitable solution.”

Education Secretary Michael Russell is leading the first ever Scottish delegation to the EHEA Bologna Process conference, where education leaders from 47 countries have agreed shared priorities for higher education for the next three years."

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