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Wales could face ‘brain drain’ of students if PG pledge not matched

Tuesday 09-12-2014 - 11:31

Wales could face a brain drain of students to England if Wales does not commit to a similar funding pledge announced in the autumn statement last week, NUS Wales has warned.

Chancellor George Osborne committed to £50m of funding for postgraduate students to access loans of up to £10,000 in the statement, but it is almost entirely restricted to students studying at English universities.

While NUS Wales welcomes the Treasury’s announcement to support postgraduate students, it has urged the Welsh Government to confirm details of any funding it expects to come to Wales through the Barnett funding formula, and whether it will use any funds to match the UK Government’s support.

President of NUS Wales, Beth Button, said she believes in a postgraduate system that is fair, flexible and accessible to all students. A similar funding system needs to be implemented in Wales to ensure the sector in Wales can compete.

She said: ‘It’s time for the Welsh Government to step up to the mark on the provision of postgraduate loans. 

‘The announcement in the autumn statement was a welcome one for postgraduate students in England.

‘But there is no clarity as yet from the Welsh Government over whether it will move to provide funding for Welsh students or institutions. NUS Wales urges them to match that funding commitment in Wales as soon as possible.

‘Without it, the entire Welsh postgraduate sector will suffer. English universities will be able to offer courses to Welsh students who will have the option for £10,000 a year loans. If Welsh universities aren’t in a position to offer the same, how can Wales expect to compete? 

‘The danger is, Wales could suffer a brain drain of the brightest and best postgraduate students going to study at English universities with more generous funding support.’

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