Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of an independent review of fees and student finance in England, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reminded the UK Government that they only need to look to Wales to find a fair and effective student finance system.
In 2016 the Diamond Review recommended replacing tuition fee grants in favour of support for students’ living costs. This recognised the fact that living costs are a greater financial concern than tuition fees for students and reflected Welsh Liberal Democrat policy.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams has since implemented Professor Diamond’s recommendations and created the most generous student finance system in the UK.
Whilst the UK Government ended maintenance grants in England, the Welsh Government have created a system that gives students the equivalent of the National Living Wage through a combination of grants and loans. The system is also the first in Europe to provide equivalent support for part-time and postgraduate learners.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for an Equal Wales Rhys Taylor commented:
Thanks to Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Wales now has the most generous and progressive student finance system in the UK. This effective and sensible approach to student finance is backed by students and universities alike.
Whilst the UK Government preoccupied themselves with ending maintenance grants, Kirsty Williams has been busy ensuring that for every student in Wales it is your academic ability and not your ability to pay that determines whether you can study at University. If the UK Government want a better and fairer student finance system they don’t need a new review, they just need to look to Wales.