KIRSTY Williams, Wales’s Education Minister, has given an update on ongoing work to support higher education in facing the financial challenges posed by COVID-19.
“I can confirm that the moratorium on unconditional offers remains in place in Wales until 1st May. Proposals from Universities UK, supported by Universities Wales, on a temporary measure for stability in undergraduate student admissions and to reprofile Student Loans Company payments to institutions are ones I am sympathetic to and that my officials, alongside colleagues in HEFCW, have being working hard to examine.
Having recently provided HEFCW with a provisional indication of the level of funding that may be available to the sector this year, I want to move forward at the right time with a package of measures that gives assurance to students, universities and wider higher education community.
I recognise UUK’s point that all four governments should continue to work together on these matters, and that the scale of the challenges goes beyond resources that is available within devolved government budgets.
Matters such as the Student Loans Company, international visas and student support cut across the responsibilities of all governments in the UK. We will continue work at pace within the Welsh Government and with the wider sector in Wales on these issues, but we will also continue to work on a four nations basis on matters such as research and Student Loans Company funding. I hope to move forward on those matters soon.
As such I endorse the need for a joint Ministerial task force to address the impact of Covid-19 on the research base in Wales and the UK and look forward to continuing to work closely and collaboratively with Ministers from all four governments.”