The Welsh Liberal Democrats would protect spending on higher education and support students with their living costs, the party has announced today.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats would establish a Student Living Support Grant, which would be worth £2,500 per full-time student per year. This would apply for all Welsh domiciled students, no matter where in the UK they study. The policy would be funded by the withdrawal of the Tuition Fee Grant.
This policy would result in at least £80 million additional funding for universities, including funding for improving accessibility and high-quality research.
Aled Roberts, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Minister, said:
"Unlike other parties, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are clear that we would protect spending on higher education.
“Access to higher education should be determined by academic ability and not social background. Not only is Labour’s tuition fees policy unsustainable, but it also fails to widen access to higher education. Too many of Wales’ brightest young people are still not applying to go to university as they simply can’t afford to.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have listened to students’ concerns: it is the cost of living that is the main barrier to people applying to go to university, not tuition fees. That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats will directly support students, so that everyone has the opportunity to go to university.
“Wales’ universities have been starved of funding due to the Labour Government’s irresponsible tuition fees policy. In contrast, the Welsh Liberal Democrats would guarantee at least £80 million additional funding for universities, so they can compete with the best in the world.
“Our policy offers the best of both worlds. We will support students so that we widen access to university, but we will also ensure our universities are properly funded so that they offer the very best education and research available.”