In this section
Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
22 days left
In this section
Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Oral - Statement on Student Numbers in HE in Wales
Deputy Presiding Officer, I wish to make a statement on the management of student numbers in Welsh universities. I intend to introduce measures to manage full-time undergraduate recruitment in order to maintain opportunities for access, standards of provision and the quality of the learner experience. Every new full-time undergraduate student recruited by higher education institutions from 2010-11 will increase the demand on student finance budgets by around £9,500 a year in grants and loans. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has arrangements in place that restrict the numbers of fully funded places on undergraduate degree courses.
The pressure on the student finance budget has been increasing in recent years. This is partially the result of increased recruitment by HE institutions of full-time undergraduates eligible for statutory student support. In order to help alleviate this pressure, we need to consider measures to manage the number of students who are recruited. The latest figures available from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service indicate that there was an increase of 12 per cent in accepted applicants to Welsh higher education institutions in 2009, compared with the previous year, whereas in England the comparable increase was 5 per cent. There was also an 11 per cent increase in Welsh-domiciled learners who were accepted to Welsh HE institutions. We now need to manage student finance expenditure in a way that is sustainable and that will not be jeopardised by unplanned growth in student numbers.
In my remit letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales earlier this year, I asked the council to take steps to ensure that higher education institutions minimise the recruitment of students beyond agreed numbers. As a result, the funding council signalled to institutions that there are demands on the Assembly Government’s student support budget if institutions enrol students over and above the number of funded places. Prior to this, the funding council has advised institutions annually of the need for prudence when recruiting students. Therefore, institutions are fully aware of the situation, and the need for constraint at a time when public funding is tight should not come as a surprise.
Limits on student numbers are already in operation in the other three UK nations. The introduction of measures to manage undergraduate student numbers will bring Wales in line with the rest of the UK. Any limits that we introduce will not apply to part-time or postgraduate students. Also, the cap will not differentiate between priority and non-priority provision. A great deal of consideration was given to this approach. However, legal constraints, and my wish to avoid an overly bureaucratic approach, meant that we did not go down that route.
We are working with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales on a range of positive interventions to promote national strategic priorities, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics provision, foundation degrees and Welsh-medium provision. My officials are discussing with the funding council the introduction of a limit on student numbers from 2011-12. The council will consult with higher education institutions on the arrangements to be put in place.
I want to make it clear that we have not reduced funding to universities. The Welsh Assembly Government’s higher education budget has been broadly flatlined for 2010-11 at the previous year’s levels. We are, however, asking institutions to have regard to the implications of recruiting fees-only students; at a time of constraint on public finances, it is only right that we do so. It is worth noting the extent of investment in the higher education sector in Wales. In 2010-11, the Welsh Assembly Government will make available capital and revenue funding of approximately £450 million to higher education institutions via the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. In addition, approximately £388 million will be provided via Student Finance Wales. Overall, Welsh Assembly Government funding for higher education via the higher education funding council has increased from around £335 million in 2002-03 to approximately £450 million in 2010-11.
I am pleased to say that institutions in Wales have among the highest student satisfaction ratings in the UK, and it is in no-one’s interest if universities recruit beyond their capacity to sustain high-quality provision. A comprehensive package of statutory student support is in place to help Welsh students enter higher education. This package of support is better targeted for the academic year 2010-11, following the findings of the review of higher education in Wales. As I have announced previously, students coming from the lowest income households will receive a grant for full living costs of £5,000, compared with a maximum of £2,906 in 2009-10. The package reflects broad agreement with the fundamental principle of targeting support towards students entering higher education from low-income households. Our student support arrangements, including the revised arrangements for the national bursary, offer learners the best and fairest support that the Assembly Government has ever made available.
The new arrangements for managing undergraduate student numbers are not a stand-alone policy. They should be viewed alongside the positive interventions to promote priority subjects and the introduction of a regional approach to planning, which are already in train. These include, for example, an investment of £1 million in relation to the national STEM programme, and setting aside over £7 million to support the development of foundation degrees. In addition, we remain committed to the development of Welsh-medium higher education. As I confirmed recently, I expect the coleg ffederal to be operational from 2011-12, and driving forward towards a target to have 1,000 additional students undertaking higher education through the medium of Welsh by 2013.
Alongside the management of student numbers, these are all integral components of an overarching framework for delivering 'For Our Future’ policy priorities, with the aim of ensuring a vibrant and sustainable higher education system in Wales.