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Medical School Places (Scottish Universities)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2019.

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Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

7. To ask the Scottish Government what measures it is taking to ensure that Scottish students can access medical school places at Scottish universities. (S5O-03411)

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is taking a number of measures to ensure that Scottish students from all sectors of society can access medical places. We are, for instance, funding 50 ring-fenced widening access places, focused on applicants from the 20 per cent most-deprived council wards. As of 2019, we are also increasing numbers from 40 to 50 on our targeted pre-medical entry courses, which are focused on socially disadvantaged as well as remote and rural applicants.

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

I recently raised the case of a young person who was offered a place as an international, fee-paying student but when his residency led to him being reclassified as a home student, the offer was withdrawn. Does the minister agree that that is unacceptable and discriminates against my constituent?

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

As autonomous institutions, universities and colleges have responsibility for managing their affairs, which includes decisions made on the fee status of individual students. Institutions assess students based on the criteria that are laid out in regulations and on evidence that students provide. As a result, on rare occasions, those decisions vary from institution to institution. In the case that Lewis Macdonald cited, the institution concerned took a decision on who is a home-based or fee-paying student. I take it that he has raised the issue with the institution. If he feels that there is anything that I should do to investigate it, he should send me the details, and I will do that.