To vote Yes or to vote No, that is the question
The only concise information on the referendum you will find online
The referendum is only two weeks away and the margin between the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaign is ever shrinking. Students across the nation are starting to ask – what would happen to us if Bonnie Scotland were to become independent?
Travelling to England won’t be a problem
Scottish students would still be able to travel to England somewhat easily to study, as an independent Scotland would remain part of the Common Travel Area (CTA) which allows freedom of movement between the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
But you might not get to an English uni
The competition for places for Scottish students to study in England would intensify drastically.
Currently, Scottish students are treated under a unified application process with the rest of the UK. But in an independent Scotland, applicants would be fighting for places against international students from around the world.
Scottish unis might be made free for English students
According to Salmond, Scottish students could continue to expect free fees in Scotland and English students would continue to pay fees of £9,000.
But this might not be the case. This arrangement may be considered illegal under European law. The European Commissioner for Education described it as a “covert form of discrimination”.
And if the Scottish government doesn’t comply with EU regulations fees would become free for English students. But the Scottish Government figures predict, if this were the case, between 20,000 and 90,000 students from the rest of the UK could move north of the border.
Scottish unis could be removed from the Russell Group
Whilst more English students would be expected to attend Scottish universities, ChinaGirlsAbroad found that 46% of non-EU students would be less likely to choose a university in an independent Scotland. And so the prestige of Scottish degrees would decline in relation to those offered elsewhere in Britain.
A spokesperson from Better Together claims that Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen’s membership of the Russell Group may come to an end because “the Russell Group solely represents UK institutions”.
This would not only affect the prestige of numerous Scottish universities, but also funding. Better Together fear that independence could result in the UK Research Councils withdrawing funds to major Scottish universities, and so reducing the quality of research and innovation.
Getting to Magaluf will be cheaper
Even though a hit to the prestige of Scottish universities might result in less international students making the journey to Scotland, the SNP’s plan to cut and then abolish air passenger duty would substantially lower travel prices in and out of Scotland, and might increase tourism.
Regardless of the effect of tourism, flights in and out of the country for international students would certainly decrease.
Your weekly shop could cost you more
According to major retailers, independence would be costly for them. ASDA Chief Executive, Andy Clarke, warned that an independent Scotland would force major retailers to set up separate Scottish businesses which would inevitably put “pressure on costs”.
We could lose the pound
The currency being used to pay for groceries might even change. Salmond has claimed that after a brief period of using the Pound, a new Scottish currency could come into use.
But this would take a while to be introduced as the First Minister has insisted on the importance of putting this to a national vote in 2016.
But the big dogs at the EU insist on all member states (except for Denmark and the UK-as-it-stands) adopting the Euro. Nobody quite knows, therefore, which currency university students in 2016 will be using to purchase £1 shots from the student union bar.
Wave goodbye to the royals
Another contentious issue is whether the money being used would have the Queen on them. The SNP believe that the Queen would initially hold the same significance to Scotland as she does to other Commonwealth nations, such as Canada and New Zealand.
But there is a high likelihood that an independent Scotland would eventually vote on the complete removal of the monarchy from Scottish society.
There’s a lot of uncertainty about the potential effects of independence on Scottish students. But at least we haven’t had to deal with Nick Clegg.