Today the Welsh Government has caved in to protests against its shock decision to axe the £2.1 million Financial Contingency Fund for universities. The Education Minister has announced that the Fund will remain in place for 2014-15.
I have previously joined student leaders in campaigning against the move since the Education Minister announced the cut three weeks ago.
The FCF was used to provide small emergency loans and grants to students who found themselves in financial distress, and is widely credited with enabling students who suffered unexpected financial problems to continue their studies instead of having to withdraw.
This is great news for students and universities, and congratulations to NUS Wales and the students’ unions on local campuses for leading this campaign. It’s clear from meeting students over the past couple of weeks that the axing of this fund – and the terrible timing of the announcement just before the start of the academic year – was very bad news for the most vulnerable students.
I will continue to press the Minister to make a commitment for more than one-year and to retain this fund for the longer term.
The effect of any cut to the Fund on universities in Ceredigion would be particularly acute, as there are fewer part-time jobs available to supplement students’ incomes, and the fact that many students from vulnerable backgrounds choose to come here for the safe, welcoming environment that our campuses offer.
Bwletin Elin / Elin’s Bulletin
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