Universities Wales today welcomes the publication of the Diamond Review of higher education funding and student finance arrangements for Wales, and its commitment to finding a sustainable solution for both students and universities. We would like to thank Sir Ian and the panel members for their commitment to accomplish this over the last two years.
Universities Wales believes that offering means-tested maintenance grants for Welsh students will give many more talented people the opportunity to transform their life-chances through going to university. There is a body of evidence that shows students need financial support whilst studying and so we are pleased to see the recommendation to provide this support.
Alongside this support to students, and with the challenges ahead, we must ensure we retain our world class university system in Wales. University funding for key priorities – quality research, part-time provision and expensive subjects such as medicine – is crucial if our universities are to continue to be a positive force for good for the people and economy of Wales.
We believe the previous government was right to look to an independent panel to make recommendations for the long-term success and sustainability of the sector. As we look to the future, universities, and the growing proportion of people studying at them, will be the key drivers of economic and social transformation in Wales. We hope that, as a result of the cross party support for the Review we can build a consensus regarding the value of universities and their students to Wales and we look forward to working with Welsh Government to deliver their aim of early implementation of the recommendations.