Vikki Howells AM Welcomes New Support Package for Welsh University Students

Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells has said that the new student support plans unveiled by the Welsh Government will provide fair and sustainable funding for Welsh university students, and will mean every Welsh higher education student gets the equivalent of the National Living Wage while they study during term time.

Under the radical plans, unveiled following Professor Ian Diamond’s independent review of student support, the average Welsh student would receive £7000 in grant support while they study rising to a maximum level of £9000. Part-time students would also receive pro-rata support.

The proposals that have been accepted include:

  • A fundamental shift to a system that provides financial support for the daily living costs of students – both full-time and part-time – through a mix of grants and loans. It would mean students receiving the equivalent of the National Living Wage during term time while they study.
  • A £1,000 annual non-means-tested universal maintenance grant to be made available to all students alongside the additional means-tested grant to cover living costs. Part-time students will receive a modified version of this support on a pro-rata basis.
  • The top rate of maintenance grant and loan support, for a student living away from home outside London, should be equivalent to the National Living Wage – based on 37.5 hours per week over a 30 week period, currently £8,100. A maximum total support of 25% more (£10,125) to be available for a student living away from home in London.
  • Maintenance support to be paid to students, as soon as is practicable, on a monthly basis to enable more efficient financial planning and budgeting.
  • New, innovative ways of funding part-time students and a support package for post-graduate studies that helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Students with an experience of care will receive the maximum maintenance grant.

The proposals would be subject to consultation. Any changes would be subject to Treasury approval and the Student Loans Company making necessary changes, and would be intended to come into effect for new students from September 2018.

Vikki Howells AM said:

“Before being elected as an Assembly Member, I helped sixth form students apply and get ready for university, so I know that many young people can have concerns about the living costs incurred while undertaking a degree. These concerns are often magnified for mature students.

“The Welsh Government have accepted Professor Diamond’s independent recommendations in full, and this will ensure a fair and sustainable package of support is provided for students from Wales.

“Importantly, part-time students are also included within these plans.

“The Welsh Government’s proposals are an excellent deal for people in Cynon Valley who want to enter higher education, and they represent the most generous and progressive student support package available anywhere in the UK.”