John Swinney says the Scottish government is doing everything it can to get students home for Christmas.
The deputy first minister said the four nations were trying to co-ordinate the mass movement of students to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.
He said he recognised the importance of family and community occasions but that suppressing the virus was paramount.
In September, hundreds of students tested positive for coronavirus as universities across the UK began the new term, with thousands told to self-isolate in halls.
Students were asked to stay away from parties, pubs and restaurants for a weekend and were only allowed to return home if they could self-isolate and their households went into quarantine.
At the time Nicola Sturgeon said it was “absolutely our priority” to make sure that students are able to return home for Christmas.