Bejan (Fr. bejaune, from bec jaune, "yellow beak," in allusion to unfledged birds, and the equivalent to Ger. Gelbschnabel) was a term for freshmen, or undergraduates of the first year, in the Scottish universities.
The phrase was introduced from the French universities, where the levying of bejaunium ("footing-money") had been prohibited by the statutes of the university of Orleans in 1365 and by those of Toulouse in 1401. In 1493 the election of an Abbas Bejanorum (Abbot of the Freshmen) was forbidden in the university of Paris. In the German and Austrian universities the freshman was called beanus. In Germany the freshman was anciently called a Pennal (from Med. Lat. pennale, a box for pens), in allusion to the fact that the newly arrived student had to carry such for the older pupils. Afterwards Fuchs (fox) was substituted for Pennal, and then Goldfuchs, because he is supposed still to have a few gold coins from home.