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Written statement on the student support package for academic year 2013/14

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Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills

I am today confirming the student finance package for higher education students undertaking a course of study in the academic year beginning September 2013.

Maintenance support

Since the Jones Review in 2010, the generous maintenance support package on offer to students normally resident in Wales has been frozen.

Even though we are still facing tough economic and financial conditions we are sticking up for our students in Wales.  The Welsh Government believes that finance should not be a barrier to a university education.  I am therefore making provision for new and continuing students to receive an above inflation increase in the level of their maintenance support for the academic year 2013/14.

For illustrative purposes, students starting their studies on or after the 1 September 2013 will be eligible for:
  • a maximum maintenance grant of £5,161;
  • a maximum maintenance loan of £5,150 (depending on household income) or £7,215 if you study in London; and
  • a partial cancellation of up to £1,500 of their maintenance loans when they start repayment.
Full details of the individual increases in living costs loans for each of the existing cohorts of students will be published in due course.

Tuition fee support

In November 2010, I announced new arrangements for tuition fees and student support in Wales.  Students ordinarily resident in Wales are eligible for a non means tested tuition fee grant to cover the additional costs of fees wherever in the UK they choose to study.  

The programme for Government contains the following commitment:

“No full time undergraduate student ordinarily resident in Wales will pay higher fees in real terms during the lifetime of the next Assembly than if they had been students in 2010/11. This will apply no matter where the student chooses to study, in Wales or elsewhere in the UK”

In line with that commitment, from September 2013:

  • the maximum tuition fee that institutions in Wales will be able to charge in the academic years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 will be frozen at £9,000 (subject to an approved fee plan being in place);
  • the maximum tuition fee loan  for students who are ordinarily resident in Wales will increase by the rate of inflation in each academic year. For 2013/14 this will mean that the maximum loan will be £3,575;
  • students will continue to be eligible for a non means tested tuition fee grant to cover the remaining element of the tuition fee.

This generous package of support for our students is both affordable and deliverable.  I expect to lay regulations implementing changes to student support for 2013/14 before the National Assembly for Wales in due course.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.