Universities Wales launches its manifesto ‘asks’

Delivering for Wales – The higher education priorities for the future Welsh Government

Universities Wales, the representative body for Vice Chancellors of Wales’ universities, today launches its manifesto ‘asks’ for the future Welsh Government ahead of next year’s National Assembly for Wales elections.

The body believes that changes to university and student funding in England in the coming years will result in the future Welsh Government having difficult choices to make on where to prioritise its funding.

Focusing on six key commitments, Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University and Chair of Universities Wales says that “If we are to continue to be a positive force for good for the people of Wales and our local communities, the future government must prioritise policies that equip universities to continue to deliver significant economic and social benefits for Wales.”

“We believe that offering means-tested maintenance grants for Welsh students from foundation through to postgraduate level will give many more talented people the opportunity to transform their life-chances through going to university.”

“Freeing up resource by targeting tuition fee grant on those that need it most will also allow funding to be prioritised for higher education policies which equip our universities to deliver economic growth, greater social justice, and, crucially, a high quality university offering for students.”

“Our universities are vital national assets. They are not simply resources to deliver programmes of study but major generators of investment in a growing sector. As we look to the future, universities, and the growing proportion of people studying at them, will be the key drivers in creating a globally competitive economy in Wales. Our universities have the capacity to be the main agent of change in Wales by creating a strong, knowledge-based economy and society.”

“I am pleased to launch our manifesto today. I believe they are crucial for universities in Wales to continue to deliver the economic and social benefits that are so vital to the future growth of our nation.”

The six fundamental commitments to universities that should be a top priority for the next Welsh Government are:

1. Provide means-tested maintenance grants for Welsh students from foundation through to postgraduate level to ensure that everyone in Wales has access to the life-changing opportunities provided through higher education.
2. Prioritise higher education funding towards the policies that both provide opportunities to access a high quality university education and deliver economic and social benefits for individuals, government and businesses in Wales.
3. Maintain in real terms the quality-related research (QR) budget that underpins world leading research in Wales, and ensure it grows in real terms.
4. Continue investment in part-time provision both to widen access to higher education and to develop crucial skills within the Welsh workforce, mindful that part-time provision requires distinct support and investment in order to deliver for Wales.
5. Retain a funding and oversight body for higher education in Wales to provide stability to the sector, provide assurance to Government and enable universities to continue delivering for Wales.
6. Actively support Wales remaining a member of the European Union.

The full publication can be found on our website here.

Notes to Editors

  • Universities Wales (Unis Wales) represents the interests of universities in Wales, and is a National Council of Universities UK. Unis Wales’s membership encompasses the Vice Chancellors of all the universities in Wales, and the Director of the Open University in Wales.
  • ‘Delivering for Wales – The higher education priorities for the future Welsh Government’ manifesto asks document is available on the Unis Wales website.
  • Figures on economic impact can be found in the ‘Economic Impact of Higher Education in Wales’ report.
  • Figures on the economic impact of international students can be found in the ‘Economic Impact of International Students in Wales’ report.