27/09/2011 09:24 BST | Updated 27/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Robert Gordon University Latest In Scotland To Sets Fees For RUK Students

A university in Aberdeen has become the latest Scottish institution to set tuition fees - but have instead adopted a different approach to try to create a fair system.

Robert Gordon University (RGU) has set three bands of undergraduate fees in the hope of reflecting how some courses cost more to deliver than others. Those involving laboratory or studio work will cost more than those which are centred around classroom teaching.

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, principal and vice-chancellor of RGU said:

"We believe we have developed a framework that is both fair and pragmatic. By basing our charges on the cost of delivering our degrees, we are ensuring that we do not make profit from students who wish to study at RGU, while ensuring their study is not subsidised from revenues received to support Scottish and EU students. We believe that under the proposed structure, the university's position is fair and equitable to all UK students."

Many of the courses at RGU incorporate a year's paid placement as part of the curriculum, which will be charged at 50 per cent of the headline fee.

The bands are as follows:

  • Band one: All business, management and social science courses - £5,000 a year
  • Band two: All art and design, architecture and built environment, computing, engineering, health and science courses - £6,750 a year
  • Band three: Master of pharmacy - £8,500 a year.

Despite the university's effort to adopt a fair and not-for-profit approach to tuition fees, the institution joins the throng of Scottish universities embroiled in the European Union legal controversy.

Thanks to a loophole in EU law, students from any European Union country outside the UK can study in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and pay the same fees as locals. However, any students from the UK will have to pay full tuition fee prices.

Even though Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell was recently quoted as saying he was "pretty sure" less than half of Scotland's universities would opt to charge maximum fees, he has so far been proved wrong.

The University and College Union Scotland previously told the Huffington Post their "worst fears had come to fruition".

But one student, who is due to apply to study at university for 2012, said he was pleased to see RGU were adapting their fees to benefit students.

Neil, 20, from Edinburgh, said; "It's refreshing to see at least one university isn't following the trend and charge maximum fees just because they can.

"The idea of charging fees depending on the course should be adopted by more universities as students who take the more intense, lab-based courses will probably be more likely to get a job after the course."

In the latest update, Strathclyde University confirmed on Tuesday they would set their tuition fees at £9,000 a year for students coming from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile students wanting to study at the University of Dundee will have to brace themselves to pay up to £54,000 for a degree. As Scottish university courses are traditionally four years, the university has promised to introduce specially- designed three-year courses to keep the cost of living expenses and accommodation down.

But these will not apply to courses which are the same length elsewhere in the UK, such as medicine and architecture, where the fees will be £45,000 and £54,000 respectively.

Principal and vice-chancellor of the university Professor Pete Downes defended the astronomical fees.

"We fully appreciate the views of students and their families looking at the costs of attending university", he said.

"By offering competitively-priced three-year programmes and combining this with very high academic standards, we think we have a very attractive offer for students."