A University of South Wales campus has faced a 75 per cent drop in students since 2010

One councillor said the reduction has turned the city into a ‘poor man’s Pontypridd’


University of South Wales’ Newport campus has faced a significant drop in students since 2010.

According to the council’s opposition leader, a 75 per cent drop in student numbers in Newport since 2010 has made the city a “poor man’s Pontypridd” when it comes to higher education.

Matthew Evans, leader of the Conservatives at the council, said Newport’s 2,500 strong student community appears dim in comparison to Cardiff’s. He also added that the city’s wider economy is also missing out.

“A vibrant live-in student population is vital for the local economy, and we need the university to step up to the plate and invest in the city,” Cllr Evans said.

The University of South Wales (USW) showed it registered 2608 people studying in Newport in 2022 and said it was committed to Newport, continuing to develop their partnerships and connections within the city.

Whilst there has been some growth in the past three years, with an increase from 2116 students in 2020, and 2432 in 2021, this is still shy of 10,000 learners in 2010/11.

That year saw the opening of the Newport City Campus, with plenty of changes in higher education in Newport. These include the 2013 merger with USW and the 2016 closure of the city’s main campus.

Newport City Council figures reveal the local authority paid £10 million towards the completion of the £40 million city campus.

Cllr Evans stated the £10 million investment in the city centre campus was made with “promises to expand, which hasn’t happened”.

A spokesperson for the USW responded saying the university was “committed to providing our students, colleagues, and partners with the very best experience at our Newport Campus”.

With the “fantastic foundations” at the campus, USW said it could begin a “multi-million project to enhance [its] internal spaces”.

The university said there had been planned growth at the campus to address the change in student numbers since 2010: “We recognise that we have more than just a role of offering education, and truly value the rich partnership working that takes place and look forward to continuing to deliver for the city and wider region.”

Newport City Council is yet to comment.

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