Government in talks to provide financial support to students unable to use accommodation

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said she "hoped to make an announcement shortly". Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government has said it is considering a package of financial support for university students who are paying rent for accommodation they are not using due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said she had held talks with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Welsh universities and NUS Cymru and "hoped to make an announcement shortly".

With the whole of the UK in lockdown, students attending university in Wales are being told to stay where they are, with return dates staggered.

Ms Williams told the Senedd: "I have every sympathy for those students who are abiding by Welsh Government rules and not travelling to universities at this time to occupy accommodation that they have paid for or are due to pay for as a result of ongoing restrictions.

Several students have been critical of universities and the government and called for rent rebates Credit: PA Images

"Last year all of our universities looked to provide rebates or refunds and we welcome that.

"I welcome the actions by a number of Welsh institutions at this time to do the same."

She added: "I am in close discussion with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, universities and only this afternoon with NUS Cymru to see what Welsh Government can do to assist with regards to rent and indeed general financial hardship students may be facing at this time.

"I hope to make an announcement shortly."

Across the UK, a number of universities have said they will not charge rent to students who cannot use their university halls during the latest lockdown.

Accommodation provider Unite Students also announced that eligible students will be able to apply for a discount of 50% of their rent for a total of four weeks.

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