On 11th July 2017, the Welsh Government announced its intention to allow universities to raise their tuition fees to £9,295 a year, in line with inflation. Education in Wales has typically been several steps ahead of its English counterparts with progressive fees and grants, and we are very disappointed to see this announcement being made.
Aberystwyth Students’ Union Officers do not support this rise in fees and strongly believe that students should not be at the receiving end of the austerity agenda. While we understand that all budgets are being put under pressure, the decisions made about education spending in Wales still ultimately lie with the Welsh Government.
Where fee rises may be unavoidable, we would like to see a guarantee from the University that the extra money generated from this rise in fees will go towards projects which directly benefit the student body. We ask for full transparency on where this money is being spent and the Vice Chancellor, Elizabeth Treasure, has encouraged us to continue to ask questions regarding this change. While we do not support the fee rises, it is important that students have the best opportunity they can to influence decisions about how their money is spent.
We are also concerned that a continual rise in fees will discourage students from taking opportunities such as the Year in Employment scheme, or may cause additional and undue stress for those considering taking a temporary withdrawal for health or personal reasons. While continuing to put in place multiple support systems for these people, we will also continue to fight for the ability to freeze fees for students considering taking a year out of academic study.
Aberystwyth Students’ Union will continue to campaign for the best interests of its students, concentrating on getting the best deal for all students, regardless of their financial situation.
Emma Beenham – Academic Affairs Officer
Bruce Wight – Union Development Officer