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Diamond Review Supports Loans Rather than Grants

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The Diamond Review, led by Professor Sir Ian Diamond and taking more than two years to complete has outlined a series of proposals aimed at making Welsh higher education more financially sustainable.

Originally established by the former Education and Skills Minister, Huw Lewis, work started on the review in 2014 with four priorities. These included, widening access, supporting the skill needs of Wales, strengthening part-time and postgraduate provision in Wales and ensuring long-term financial sustainability.

Under the current system full time undergraduates from Wales receive financial support through a number of loans and grants helping to support around 57,000 students a year. In total the scheme is costing the Welsh Government around £250 million per year.

Under proposals all students would receive a minimum of £1,000 a year before a means tested grant, however the current £5,100 grant towards tuition fees would be replaced by loans.

This means that a student coming from an average income family would expect to receive £7,000 a year, while those from families earning morning than £80,000 would only be eligible for the basic £1,000 a year grant.

The changes have been proposed amid concerns that the current system is unsustainable and that maintaining the status quo was not an option.

Prof Diamond said of the proposals: "In contrast to England, where maintenance support for students will be based on loans, we propose a significant universal element of maintenance support for full-time students".

It was also suggested that the new system would mean students from Wales would face average debt levels that are substantially lower than those leaving university from England.

As of yet no date has been given as to when the new system would come into force although it's thought that the earliest it could be introduced would be in 2018-19.