The National Union of Students in Wales (NUSW) is aiming to increase student awareness about the forthcoming Assembly elections, as well as putting pressure on candidates to support students in the next Assembly term.
The NUS Wales campaign recognises that student support could be at risk in the current economic climate, but emphasises that it is important to ensure that people from all backgrounds can access and remain in education.
The campaign calls for the protection of three specific funds:
• The Education Maintenance Allowance, which has been scrapped in England but currently remains in Wales
• The Assembly Learning Grant, which is targeted at the poorest students
• The Financial Contingency Fund, which has faced a 60% cut this year
However, the campaign also explores many other important forms of support, such as part-time course grants, Adult Dependants' Grant (ADG), Childcare Grant and Parents' Learning Allowance, which are all essential for particular categories of students.
NUS Wales will be inviting all Assembly election candidates to voice their support for the campaign’s mission statement:
“We believe that the Welsh Assembly Government has a duty to provide financial assistance to students, and that current levels of student support such as the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the Assembly Learning Grant (ALG) and the Financial Contingency Fund (FCF) should be protected during the next Assembly term.”
Subscribers to the campaign’s website www.accessallareaswales.org.uk will be informed of which candidates support the campaign in the days prior to the election on May 5th.
On the importance of students voting, NUS Wales President Katie Dalton said:
“Welsh students are more active and engaged then ever, with thousands having marched through the streets in protest against education cuts and many having played their part in the recent referendum success. We are now urging students to register to vote and make their voices heard at the ballot boxes in May.”
On the Access All Areas campaign, NUS Wales President Katie Dalton said:
“In many cases, financial support is vital in ensuring that students are able to access and remain in further and higher education. We are calling on Assembly candidates to back our campaign and ensure that students can reach their potential, regardless of their financial status.”