Angry Scots parents have hit out at the cap on youngsters north of the Border being allowed into the country’s top universities – even if they get straight A grades.
Outraged letters to ministers have been released under freedom of information which claim “every other nation” has a better chance of getting into Scottish universities.
Scottish youngsters don’t pay fees, usually about £9,000 a year elsewhere in the UK, to go to university at home. These are funded by the Government, but the strain this puts on the public purse means places are capped. The correspondence shows youngsters who have up to eight A-grade Highers being rejected from law, medicine and international relations degrees.
One parents states their son gained six As at Higher and was on track for a further three As at Advanced Higher but was knocked back by St Andrews University for an international relations degree.
“He has done all that was asked of him, and much of the reason for his rejection is a direct consequence of your funding system and cap, which is making it harder and harder for Scots to achieve a place at a Scottish university. Every other nation has a better chance of going to a Scottish university than Scots do.”
Students from elsewhere in the UK pay £9,000 a year to study at Scottish universities, in line with the system south of the border. Those from countries outside the EU can pay over £20,000 a year.
Another letter said: “Why is it that a straight-A student with extracurricular experience (sports, volunteering, Duke of Edinburgh, etc), who has followed the advice of Pathways in course choices and gained work experience, is rejected outright for medicine from Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews?
“We are now working through options with our daughter and I am shocked to realise that those options are limited. I put this down to rationing of places to home/EU students. Options are available to those who pay fees but we don’t even get that option because we are Scottish.”
Another letter from a school teacher mum whose son had missed out on a university place, despite having top grades, added: “I am appalled that our students are being discriminated because they are Scottish. Had my son been born in Ireland or overseas he would have been able to start the course of his choice in September.”
Universities Scotland say the situation is down to the funding system in place and “high demand” for places.