Thursday’s news that the number of students coming in to Welsh universities in 2012 fell by 24,100, a drop of 8.1%, has a number of serious implications for Welsh Higher Education.
The figures have been released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the full report, “End of Cycle 2012”, also highlights a trend that students from Wales, whose course fees are being covered by the Welsh Government no matter where they choose to study, now seem to be more likely to be choosing to attend universities in England.
I believe that the time has come for a full review of the university funding system in Wales. This latest report is further evidence that the assumptions the Welsh Government were making to back up the existing scheme were obviously way off the mark. The funding system for Welsh students depends on non-Welsh students coming to Welsh universities, which means that The current situation is becoming unsustainable.
We need to know how the Government intends to make up the shortfall and how it will deal with the long-term effects of funding reductions on the competitiveness of Welsh HE institutions.