Written Statement -Â Statement on the Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance Arrangements in Wales
Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills
On 18 November 2013 I announced that I had asked Professor Sir Ian Diamond, current Vice Chancellor of Aberdeen University, to chair a Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance Arrangements in Wales. I also announced that an expert panel would be established to support Sir Ian and given the importance and wide-ranging scope of the review that I would be inviting political parties in Wales to nominate individuals to join the Review Panel.
The review will commence this Spring. In Autumn 2015 Sir Ian will produce a factual summary of the evidence he and his review team has collected as part of their work. His final report, including his final recommendations, will be issued by September 2016.
Welsh Government priorities for the review include:
- widening access – ensuring that any future system has widening access at its core objective, is progressive and equitable;
- supporting the skill needs of Wales;
- strengthening part-time and postgraduate provision in Wales; and
- long-term financial sustainability.
The full Terms of Reference for the review are attached at Annex A.
It is important to remember that our Higher Education sector starts this process from a robust financial position.
Despite challenging economic circumstances and overall funding cuts from the UK Government, the Welsh Government has ensured the overall funding flowing in to Welsh Higher Education continues to be strong. HEFCW distributed funds will increase from £358m in 2012/13 to £381m in 2013/14 and when one includes the incoming tuition fee payments, every Higher Education institution in Wales will receive more income than it did in 2012/13. The Wales Audit Office has reported that the sector is forecasting an increase in overall income from £1.26bn in 2010/11 to £1.45bn in 2015/16.
Overall, funding to the sector in 2013/14 will increase by 13.8% and latest forecasts suggest that the existing funding regime will contribute an additional £290m during the lifetime of this Government when compared to the previous funding formula. Income is forecast to continue to increase up until 2021.