Leighton Andrews, Minister for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning
Today draft regulations have been laid before the Assembly which will establish a new role for the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) in relation to the regulatory framework for higher education tuition fees in Wales from 2012/13. The draft Higher Education Act 2004 (Relevant Authority) (Designation) (Wales) Regulations 2011 are to be made by negative resolution.
In the One Wales programme for government, Welsh Ministers made a commitment to widen participation for all ages in further and higher education. On 30 November 2010, I announced that HE institutions would be able to charge tuition fees up to £9,000 per annum from 2012/13, provided that they could demonstrate a commitment to widening access and other strategic objectives. They must do this through fee plans approved by HEFCW.
The draft regulations designate HEFCW as the relevant authority for the purposes of Section 30 of the Higher Education Act 2004. From 2012/13, HEFCW will approve and enforce fee plans from those institutions which wish to charge tuition fees above the basic amount of £4,000 for full time undergraduate courses.
The content and duration of fee plans are prescribed by the draft Student Fees (Approved) Plans Regulations, which have already been laid before the Assembly. Guidance on the fee planning process will be issued to HEFCW in due course by my Department.
My officials have undertaken consultation on the delivery arrangements with key stakeholders and I have taken account of the feedback received in determining the scope of the draft regulations.