ALMOST two-thirds of university applicants in Scotland would delay their studies if tuition fees were introduced, a new poll has revealed.

Research firm Progressive polled Scottish university applicants living in Scotland on behalf of the University and College Union (UCU) and found 63% would be more likely to defer university this year if they had to pay tuition fees.

Around 26% of respondents who provided more detail said they would not be able to go to university because of the fees.

23% said it would no difference to them and 3% said they would opt for a university outside of Scotland while 11% said they did not know.

UCU said the poll showed how tuition fees would lead to a reduction in the number of students entering university – and at a time when the number of international students in Scotland looks set to plummet.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said: “As well as it being morally wrong to charge students for tuition, we can also now say with confidence that it makes no economic sense. Bringing back tuition fees - either upfront or after graduation - would damage Scottish universities' finances.

“Universities across the UK are in crisis with forecasts of a catastrophic fall in the number of international students. 

“We need to do everything we can to support universities in the coming months as they are integral to finding a vaccine for Covid-19 and in driving the economy forward nationally, and as anchor institutions in their local communities. 

“As well as the Scottish and UK governments stepping in to help, the key to keeping universities going is maintaining student numbers and not deterring potential applicants. 

“This poll highlights how charging tuition fees for students in Scotland would lead to a further reduction in the number of students, rather than provide additional income for universities.”

Progressive polled 313 applicants between June 8 and 15.