Universities' funding warning

Welsh universities say they're struggling to attract students because of underfunding and the effect of the Welsh Government's tuition fee subsidy

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NUS concerns about part-time students

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.

Universities set out funding warnings

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:

  • 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.

Welsh Universities struggling to attract students says Vice Chancellor

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.

Call for government action over student funding

There are calls for the Welsh government to stop university funding going to English Universities Credit: PA

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.

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