The Diamond Review: what does it mean for Higher Education institutions in Wales?
Welsh universities can commence longer term financial planning with some confidence, following the announcement that recommendations set out in the Diamond Review could come into effect as early as 2018/19.
The independent review of higher education funding and student finance arrangements, undertaken by an expert panel led by Professor Ian Diamond, has endorsed that a grant covering Welsh students' tuition fees should be replaced with support for living costs instead.
Under the proposals, all Welsh students would receive £1,000 a year alongside an additional means tested grant. A student from an average income family could receive £7,000 a year in grant. However, the current £5,100 grant towards tuition fees would be replaced by loans.
The maximum level of grant (£9,113 a year) would be available to students from households with an annual income of less than £20,000. Those from families earning more than £80,000 would only be eligible for the basic £1,000 a year grant.
The proposals are backed by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams, who will now assess how they can be implemented and conduct consultations.
This will come as welcome news to Higher Education institutions as if the policy is adopted then much of the £100m a year savings from cutting the tuition fee grant for undergraduates will be redirected within sector in Wales.