Welsh Government
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Wales unveils future of fees

Education Minister Leighton Andrews has yesterday outlined Wales’ response to the decision by the UK Government to increase tuition fees in higher education institutions in England.

Welsh domiciled students will not have to pay extra fees as the cost will be met by the Welsh Assembly Government.

In Wales basic tuition fees will rise to £6000 per annum. HE institutions will be able to charge fees up to £9000, providing they can demonstrate a commitment to widening access and other strategic objectives.

The income repayment threshold for student loans will increase from £15,000 to £21,000.

There will be a variable progressive rate of interest charged depending on income.

Part-time students will be able to access a tuition fee loan depending on the level of intensity of their course.

Changes will apply to all new students from the start of the academic year 2012/13.

Any increases in tuition fees will not apply to continuing students who are already in university. The new arrangements will only apply to new students starting in the academic year 2012/2013 i.e. starting their first year of study in September 2012.

To support Welsh students the Welsh Assembly Government is announcing that Welsh domiciled students will not have to find either £6000 or £9000 to study. The increase in fees for Welsh domiciled students, whether they study in England or Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland, will be paid by the Welsh Assembly Government.

So, Welsh students who go to university in 2012-13 will be paying the same in real terms as students who go to university in this academic year.

In addition, Welsh domiciled students will continue to be eligible for subsidised loans to meet the costs up to the current level of tuition fee.

For example:

If a student who was born and lives in Wales is going to University in anywhere in the UK in 2012 they will only pay £3290 a year in fees (plus any inflationary uplift in fee levels) – the same as this year.

The Welsh Assembly Government will provide a tuition fee grant or waiver to cover the difference in the fees to the HEI the student does not have to repay this grant.

Students will also be able to access subsidised loans to help with the cost of going to university which won’t need to be paid back until they are earning £21,000. If eligible, a means tested Assembly Learning Grant of up to £5000 will be available to help pay for studies.

Leighton Andrews said:

“I believe that the arrangements we’ve put in place are both fair, equitable and sustainable.

“We do not support full-cost or near full cost fees. We do not believe that higher education should be organised on the basis of a market.

“In the One Wales programme for government, we committed ourselves to do whatever is possible to mitigate the effects on Welsh-domiciled students should the cap on fees be lifted.

“We have a responsibility to Welsh-domiciled students, wherever they choose to study. We also have a responsibility to ensure that Wales benefits, economically, socially and culturally, from the investment that the Assembly Government makes in higher education in Wales.

“Higher education should be on the basis of the individual’s potential to benefit, and not on the basis of what they can afford to pay.  

“The message today is clear. Students ordinarily resident in Wales going to university in 2012-13 will be no worse off than if they had gone to university this year.

“This is a ‘Made in Wales’ policy which demonstrates the benefits of devolution. We are preserving the principle that the state will subsidise higher education and maintain opportunities for all.”

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