President of NUS Scotland Robin Parker hit back today at claims made by David Willetts at the Tory conference that maintaining free higher education would leave Scottish universities underfunded.
The Universities and Science Minister's comments came after all but one of Scotland's top universities slipped down the Times Higher Education World University Rankings which were released earlier this month.
But Mr Parker told the Star that "Scotland continues to have world-class universities because it does not charge tuition fees, not despite this.
"In the long run, students will benefit most from an education system that values their ability, not their ability to pay. The sooner the Westminster government reaches this conclusion, the better students across the UK will be."
While fees are rising across Europe, nine EU countries, including Scotland, still charge no fees.