Letters: Is university education only for highest bidder?

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It seems that Scotland’s much lauded higher education system has now become a system of education for the highest bidder. Back in 2006 my daughter Gabriela studied architecture at the University of Edinburgh.

Our children have dual British and Peruvian nationality but as my permanent residence is in France she was entitled to EU fee status. Her Edinburgh education was first rate and she is now a highly regarded designer.

This year my son Nicholas decided to follow in his sister’s footsteps and applied to study geography at the University of Edinburgh.

He achieved a score of 41 out of 45 in the International Baccalaureate (91 per cent) and won the school prize for geography. Unsurprisingly the university made him an unconditional offer for a place in 2014-2015 . . . provided that he pays fees as an overseas student.

The offer received states: “This offer is made on the basis that we consider your fee status on the relevant date to be Overseas/International fee rate. If our assessment of your fee status subsequently changes, then your application may be reassessed and your offer may be withdrawn”.

In practice this means the University of Edinburgh now offers places not on the basis of academic merit but on the basis of how much you can pay. A student with the highest grades like Nicholas is accepted provided he pays the most expensive fee rates. However, if he pays as an EU student, to which he is entitled, the “unconditional” offer may be withdrawn.

Students should be selected on their academic merit and not on their fees status.

To make offers conditional on paying the most expensive fee rate distorts and prejudices the reputation of a prestigious university like Edinburgh.

It would seem that how much you can pay is now the determining factor in obtaining a place at Edinburgh and not academic potential.

Andrew Maskrey, Impasse du Belvedere, Ferney-Voltaire, France

We’ll be in the red with Ed at the head

GOD help us all if Ed “the red” Miliband gets hold of the economy.

If you make banks off-load branches, as Miliband wants to do, they will simply close them down. How does that serve the customers? I also believe wealth creators and investors will run for their lives.

Miliband’s speech has wiped millions of pounds from the value of banks owned by the taxpayers.

The other thing Miliband wants to do is axe dole money for 18 to 24-year-olds.

If they are jobless, Miliband wants them to work, but there are not many jobs going. Ed is playing to the public gallery. This is the same man that helped reduce our economy to rubble.

He also said he would freeze energy prices. How is he going to control the markets?

He can’t. We don’t own our own energy.

J Hill, Stenhouse, Avenue, Edinburgh

Buchanan is streets ahead of footballer

WHY name a street after a footballer who was neither the best in Europe, nor the world, when we have Ken Buchanan, pictured, who was a world champion, ignored for such an honour?

Even other world-famous Edinburgh sons, such as Robert Louis Stevenson or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, have not had a street named after them.

Lawrie Reilly might be a hero to a few thousand Hibs fans, but on a global scale he hardly merits his name on a carrier bag, far less a whole street.

Alan Hunter, Morningside, Edinburgh

Tram trip to nostalgia for conductor’s family

regarding the letter (January 18) from Jim Pitkethly wondering about the conductor A Chisholm, who signed his ticket on one of the last trams to run in 1956.

Alexander (Sandy) Chisholm is long deceased (1972) but is still survived by one of his daughters, Margaret Third who is now aged 90 and living in the Balgreen area.

Margaret was one of five children – the others are now no longer with us.

I am Sandy’s grandson and Margaret is my aunt, who I visit regularly.

Sandy has three other grand-children in Edinburgh; four great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson.

Graeme Herbert, Pearce Avenue, Edinburgh

Church is there even when tragedy is not

In the light of the Mikaeel Kular tragedy and the magnificent response displayed by the community at the Muirhouse church memorial service, I should like to ask a simple question.

Might we expect an upsurge in church attendance in the coming months as such a response appears to indicate that there is a “need”?

The church is there at all times and not just when tragedy strikes.

Iain Dunn, Fox Covert Avenue, Edinburgh

Wonderful reaction to a tragic incident

ALTHOUGH I am an elderly, fully qualified nobody, I would still like to express my admiration for the superb way that your community rallied round in order to take part in the search for Mikaeel Kular.

A wonderful example of the Scottish reaction to this sad incident and devotion to a community problem.

Alan Hartley, Staverton Close, Mount Nod, Coventry