‘We need assurances that the Welsh Government has in place a robust higher education funding policy’ – Aled Roberts AM

2012 Ionawr 31 9:48 AM

Statistics released by UCAS show the number of applications to Welsh universities for 2012 has fallen compared to the previous year.

Following the deadline on 15 January, the number of applicants received were down by 9.3% on 2011 figures. There was a 12.3% (36,195 applicants) fall from English applicants, which is just over half of the total applications to Welsh institutions. Scottish numbers were down 39.5% and Northern Irish 15.3%, with Welsh applicants dropping by 4.5%.

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrats Shadow Minister for Education, commented:

"The Welsh Labour Government's tuition fees funding policy is heavily reliant on students from the rest of the UK part-funding Welsh students' higher education. It is therefore very disappointing to see that there has been such a huge drop in the number of English, Scottish and Northern Irish students proposing to attend Welsh universities.

"The Minister has often made reference to the fact that his policy was costed for the term of this Assembly based on forecast student numbers. We need to know whether the changes in student numbers, particularly from England, impact on those forecasts. Whilst the Welsh Liberal Democrats support the idea of giving extra support to Welsh students, we need to be assured that the Welsh Government has in place a robust higher education funding policy. We are concerned that the Minister's failure to be clear on the impact of such changes in numbers will further undermine the viability of Welsh Universities."

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