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Over £50 million of funding to support Welsh universities, colleges and Sixth Forms

The Welsh Government has announced additional funding of more than £50 million to support universities, colleges and their students.

The support comes as Wales aims to recover from the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, with £27m to be provided to Higher Education (HE) institutions and £23m to be used to support students in Further Education colleges and Sixth Forms.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant negative impact on the finances of many education institutions and there have been calls throughout the UK for more support to be given, particularly to the HE sector.

The latest UCAS figures show an increase in university applications from 18-year-olds to Welsh universities, however, it is feared that the prospect of blended or remote learning may lead to some students deferring their applications until 2021. There are also fears that the number of international students arriving in Wales for the new academic year could be significantly lower than usual, leading to a potential fall in revenues from tuition and accommodation fees.

The Welsh Government hopes the funding announced for the HE sector will help to support jobs in teaching, research and student services.

Meanwhile, funding will be provided for the Further Education sector to increase teaching support, with most students recently missing months of face-to-face teaching. £3.2m is to also be made available so that digital equipment including laptops can be provided for FE students. Investments have also been announced for professional development and regional mental health and wellbeing support projects. 

Discussing the announcement of additional funding, Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams said;

“Our colleges and universities are stewards of place. Each one across the nation, and working together, will be important in our recovery as they work with schools, business, international partners and public services.

“So we are supporting these major institutions in Welsh life, so that they can support students of all ages, and keep playing their part in our recovery.

“We will not have a full picture of the pandemic’s impact on universities until next term, but this funding will provide a vital support to our institutions in their preparations for the autumn. 

“Our support for 16-19 age students aims to ensure students beginning courses in September are not disadvantaged by the disruption they faced earlier this year, and is part of our wider measures to ensure we have a skilled workforce that will drive forward the economic recovery from the coronavirus.

The Welsh Government has said it will also look at the needs of the sectors again in the Autumn to ensure they continue to be supported effectively.

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