Kirsty Williams today visited the Student Loans Company’s offices in Llandudno Junction to thank them for their hard work in implementing and administering the new package of support for students.
For the first time this academic year, all eligible Welsh undergraduate students starting university this year are able to apply for a new financial support package that will help address living costs. The first of its kind in the UK, it will support students when they most need it, recognising that costs such as accommodation are the main barrier for those making the choice about whether to go to university. As a result, SFW staff have managed a successful transition to the new package as a new cohort of students apply for funding and begin their courses.
Addressing the staff, Kirsty Williams said:
“As you know, we are delivering a set of important reforms for all Welsh undergraduate and postgraduate students. The new package is the most generous anywhere in the UK and will ensure that the opportunity to go to university is based on academic ability and not someone’s social background.
“This has meant many changes for you this year and I appreciate your hard work in helping us to develop and implement the reforms.
“I am also delighted that, like all public sector workers and external suppliers working in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, SLC’s staff in Llandudno Junction are paid the real living wage. Universities across Wales have also committed to become real living wage employers, so we will be a higher education sector that is truly a real living wage sector. This is unique in the UK, and something of which we can all be proud.”
During the visit the Cabinet Secretary met with the Student Loans Company’s new CEO Paula Sussex and also listened in to staff taking calls from customers to get a flavour of their work.
SLC’s Chief Executive Paula Sussex said:
“I was delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to our offices in Llandudno Junction to meet our staff and to see for herself the tremendous work they do in administering student finance on behalf of the Welsh Government.
So far in this academic year SLC has processed around 70,000 applications for funding from new and returning students from Wales”