Aled Roberts AM, has described the Wales Audit Office report on 'Higher education finances' as "deeply embarrassing" for the Welsh Government after it revealed that the estimated cost of the Tuition Fee Grant has increased by 24%, from Â£653 million to Â£809 million.
Commenting, Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, said:
"This report highlights some of the huge failings in the Welsh Labour Government's current higher education funding system.
"Earlier this week both the Education Minister and his predecessor were lecturing the Assembly chamber on how the current system is costing less than first estimated. Yet this report lays out in full how wrong they actually were in 2010 and still are now. It explicitly states that the cost is expected to be 'substantially higher' than forecast. Their continued denial on these issues is both puzzling and deeply worrying.
"The process to create the current system was clearly flawed. It's deeply embarrassing that the Welsh Labour Government rushed this important decision and failed to explore all options available to it. After all, both the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive adopted policies that weren't even considered by the Welsh Government.
"Despite the important role they would play, HEFCW seemed to have played a very small part in helping to formulate the policy. Yet, unlike the Welsh Labour Government, it seems HEFCW were more than aware that the Government's estimates were far too optimistic. Likewise, I am sure some members of the Cabinet will be aggrieved to hear that they were not given the full details about the true potential costs the policy could have produced."