The announcement confirms the fee status for EU students studying until 2022 will not be affected by the outcome of upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Deputy first minister John Swinney made the announcement on a recent visit to the University of Dundee.
“I am proud that Scotland is a destination of choice for EU students and I am delighted to give them further reassurance by confirming that support from the Scottish government for tuition-free studies will continue for those commencing courses here in the 2018/19 academic year,” he said.
“Support from the Scottish government for tuition-free studies will continue for those commencing courses here in the 2018/19 academic year”
Swinney went on to say, “the continued refusal by the UK government to give assurances to EU nationals living in Scotland that their rights will remain in place, ahead of the formal Brexit procedures beginning next week, is deeply concerning.”
The UK government has not confirmed if EU students studying at higher education or further education institutions will have access to student loan funding or will be charged higher tuition than domestic students past 2017/18.
“EU students will rightly have concerns about any change in their status half way through a course. These students deserve certainty and knowing that their free tuition is in place for the entirety of their course is important, that is why I have confirmed this free tuition.”
Wednesday, March 29 is the day UK prime minister Theresa May has said she will trigger Article 50 which will start official negotiations for the country to leave the EU by 2019.
Universities Scotland praised the announcement saying it was “welcoming and assuring for the sector”.
“Since Brexit, we have continually highlighted many of the issues that will impact higher education and have called for clarity,” Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland said.
“EU students are of huge importance to Scotland and its universities: educationally, culturally, economically and as a core part of many important courses. It’s right that the Scottish government have given clarity for students who will be thinking about choosing Scotland to learn, study and contribute.”
Last year, EU students studying in Scotland grew 1% to 20,945 reflecting steady growth over the last four years, up from 17,475 in 2012/13.
Scotland’s future within the UK could also be at risk if first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second Scottish independence referendum in the wake of Brexit talks in granted.