06/09/2011 09:31 BST | Updated 06/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Edinburgh University Criticised For Charging Top Tuition Fees

Edinburgh University has come under fire after announcing it would charge up to £36,000 for a degree to non-Scottish students in the UK.

The university made headlines by becoming the most expensive university to study at in the UK, despite not making the top 10 in the 2012 university league tables.

The University and College Union Scotland (UCU) criticised the move and said setting the variable fee at the highest level could decrease the number of English students opting to study at the university. As a result, this would lead to the loss of funds universities are desperately attempting to maximise in the face of funding cuts.

The UCU added they believe a financially neutral system for individual universities is a better option which would discourage universities pricing themselves out of reach for the majority of UK students.

Edinburgh has defended itself saying the fees would be offset by £6.7m worth of bursaries for non-Scottish undergraduates, which would be heavily funded by the higher fees.

But UCU Scottish official Mary Senior said: "Though Edinburgh are offering bursaries, most student won't qualify for these so only the wealthiest will consider Edinburgh as an option. Our worst fears of most Scottish universities ignoring the minister and charging the highest possible fee have come to fruition."

Cabinet secretary for education Michael Russell made a statement to the Scottish Parliament in July saying universities could charge variable fees for other UK students but said he expected Scottish Universities to show restraint and not charge the full fee. He suggested £6,375 as a "competitive figure".

Heriot-Watt and Aberdeen Universities have also charged full fees, albeit capped for a maximum of three years to £27,000.

A loophole in European Law means Scottish students will not be charged the new fees, which amount to £9,000 per year.

Huffington Post UK have contacted Edinburgh University about the rise in fees but have not yet had a response.