Welsh university grants: My future shouldn’t rely on my parents

Screw you Welsh Government

When it came to choosing which university I wanted to go to, three of my five picks on UCAS were in Wales. Why? Knowing that the Welsh government’s take on tuition fees was in my favour.

Recently it was revealed that full-time students from Wales will no longer receive tuition fee grants for university. Families who earn less than £59,200 a year will benefit, but what’s in it for the rest of us?

The tuition fee grant currently in place was expected to eat up almost £200 million pounds out of the Assembly’s budget. Yet by subsidising almost £5000 of the fees, it not only encouraged potential students to think about staying in Wales to study, but provided a massive image boost of the view of Welsh higher education on a global scale.

Could this be you?

Only a few months ago I asked the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, about the issue of tuition grants. Back then he assured me that the money would be found and that students would not suffer as a result. Mistakenly, I believed him.

As it turns out, that was horse shit. New plans were announced by the Assembly Education Minister Kirsty Williams, someone who in the past has championed education, fighting to keep local schools in my area (Llandrindod in Powys) open. Now, she’s delivered a punch in the stomach to a massive amount of potential students.

My brother is one of many examples. He is currently looking to start university around the time these proposed changes will come into effect, September 2018. He is leaning towards Cardiff in particular because of the fact he’s a Welsh speaker and Welsh student, and would have to pay twice as much to go and study in England. He will no longer have the same opportunities that I did, and will be forced to scrounge off our parents instead.

The appeal of Cardiff is still there, but the appeal of university has certainly lessened for a lot of potential students. We’re the last ones to be thought of when it comes to budgets, but nearly always the first to be affected by the outcomes of them – which more often than not are cuts.

But when there are assembly members who say they’re for one thing and then do another, who can tell what will happen?

When all’s said and done, these changes will cause more trouble than they’re worth.