President of NUS Wales, Stephanie Lloyd, giving evidence to the Assembly's Finance Committee. She was unsympathetic when it came to universities' concerns about the impact of tuition fees grants on their ability to invest in the 'student experience.'
The Vice Chancellor of Bangor University, Professor John Hughes, told the Assembly's Finance committee that Welsh universities are 'not in a position to invest' in the way that competitors elsewhere in the UK are.
He said that's making it difficult to attract students from across the UK and from overseas.
Representatives of the National Union of Students in Wales are also giving evidence to the Assembly's Finance Committee. Amongst the points made in their written submissions are:
- NUS Wales believes universities in Wales face greater uncertainty as a result of the changes
- There's also concern about the knock-on effect on further education
- Part-time learners are being put off because they weren't taken into account in the current tuition fees policies and as a result are a lower priority for universities
- A third of students had considered leaving their course because of financial worries
- Restricting tuition fee help to Welsh students who study in Wales will create a two-tiered system and limit opportunities for Welsh students.
University chiefs and representatives of the organisation which shares out funding to Welsh Universities are giving evidence to the Assembly's Finance Committee. They're setting out the impact of funding cuts and changes.
In its earlier evidence, the organisation representing higher education institutions, Higher Education Wales, says universities face an 'uncertain' future as a result of the changes. And it warns that they pose a risk to 'higher-cost' courses like medicine and engineering. HEW says:
- It's 'wrong in principle' that £50m of the Welsh universities budget for 2013/14 is going to institutions elsewhere in the UK. The figure's confirmed in separate evidence by the body which shares out funding to universities, HEFCW.
- Changes to the way universities are funded 'poses risks' to provision of 'higher-cost' subjects like medicine and engineering, Welsh medium provision and ensuring more students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend university.
- Evidence from Wales and England shows that higher tuition fees of up to £9000 aren't putting off students from lower-income backgrounds 'with or without fee grant payments' like the Welsh subsidy
- Universities can't take any further funding cuts 'without serious consequences' for their activities.
It follows a report last week into the costs of the tuition fees policy and the launch of a Welsh Government review into the funding of Higher Education.
The Vice Chancellor of Bangor University has told Assembly Members that universities in Wales are struggling to attract students from the rest of the UK and overseas.
John Hughes told the Finance Committee that institutions here 'are not in a position to invest' in the sort of facilities students who are now paying their own fees expect.
He said that's 'limited' the ability of Welsh universities to recruit students, something which they're 'already seeing in the figures.' The Finance Committee is looking into the impact of the Welsh Government's decision to subsidise the bulk of students' tuition fees.
University bosses in Wales say the Welsh government should stop the flow of funding going to universities in England. Currently, £50m is being spent on supporting Welsh students over the border. The Welsh government says its tuititon fees policy is sustainable.