Student fees and Ceredigion

The student fees issue is clearly going to be huge in Ceredigion in the next few years. Ceredigion’s Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Elin Jones has now warned of the dire consequences for both students and universities at Aberystwyth and Lampeter if Vince Cable’s plans to reform their funding are allowed to proceed.

Reacting to this week’s Browne Report on student and university funding and Vince Cable MP’s subsequent response, Elin said today:

“The ConDem Government intends to introduce a wholesale market into the world of Higher Education. They intend to slash the university teaching grant and force universities to make up that gap by charging higher fees to students in a competitive market.

“This will act as a huge distinctive for students from lower-income families to attend universities. Ceredigion has one of the lowest average wage levels in the UK and our young people will be particularly hard-hit by the prospect of fees increasing to £7,000 or even £12,000 per year.

“Both Aberystwyth and Lampeter universities could be severely disadvantaged in a more market-orientated system. Future students will be looking to cut costs to a minimum and may well chose to study closer to home – that could have a damaging impact on recruitment to Aberystwyth and Lampeter.

“While the Assembly Government will take the policy decision on this matter in Wales, our hands here will be tied behind our backs because the public funding cut to universities which is now being proposed for England will automatically cut the funding to Wales.

“It's not surprising that the Tories in the UK coalition favour introducing market forces into the Higher Education sector. However, it's a complete turnaround for market-driven fees to be introduced in the name of the LibDems and Vince Cable – especially since the LibDem posters campaigning to ‘Scrap Tuition Fees’ are still up in some windows in Aberystwyth (example above). These posters tell a sorry tale of betrayal.

“To represent the interests of Ceredigion, we need to oppose the Westminster Government’s savage cuts to university funding as well as opposing introduction of market-driven student fees.”