To those who think that politicians are all the same, I say just look at Conservative-Lib Dem government that is ideologically determined to dismantle public services. It is now withdrawing 80% of government funding from universities with some institutions losing 97% of their government teaching grant, and leaving students to pick up the costs.
Contrast that with our Labour – led Assembly government here in Wales which has decided to protect funding for students, in spite of cuts in the overall budget for the Assembly imposed by the Conservative LibDem Government.
That means that students whose homes are in Wales, will pay £3290 a year in fees – the same as this year, even though tuition fees will rise in 2012 to £6000 a year, with Higher Education institutions able to charge fees of up to £9000.
The Welsh Assembly Government will pay the difference, making sure that the universities have the funding that they need to provide the courses.
Importantly, to ensure the widest possible choice for students, this will apply whether a student from Wales wishes to study at a university in Wales, or elsewhere in the UK. Students can also access subsidised loans to help with the cost of going to university which won’t need to be paid back until the students are earning £21,000, and there is also a means tested Assembly Learning Grant of up to £5000 to help students from more modest backgrounds pay for their studies.
We can do things differently in Labour-led Wales – thank goodness!