Plaid Cymru has criticised the Welsh Government’s decision to cut the Financial Contingency Fund for Welsh universities.
The fund, worth £2.1 million, was used to provide emergency assistance for students who found themselves in serious financial difficulties.
Party of Wales Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas commented:
“These cuts from Labour are during the time the National Assembly has gone into recess. To do this now makes it harder for Assembly Members to properly scrutinise the Welsh Government and Ministers over these cuts.
“I have immediately tabled questions to the Welsh Government about Labour’s cuts. We are weeks away from students going to university and this fund was a life-line to those students who find it difficult to make ends meet through no fault of their own.
“This summer has been a summer of education cuts by Labour in Wales. These cuts have impacted on the school effectiveness grant, the 14 – 19 Network Grant, Young Recruits Programme and apprenticeships, the Minority and Ethnic Achievement Grant.
“This latest news over cuts for student support shows the Education Minister has once again failed to protect his budget around the Cabinet table because of overspending by health boards.”
Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, said:
“This money was vital in order to help students from poorer backgrounds and those who found themselves in financial crisis. I understand that Aberystwyth University, for instance, was able to help well over 200 students in need last year by using finance from this fund.
“This kind of support can make the difference between students being able to carry on with their degrees or having to withdraw. The timing of this announcement is terrible. We are less than a month away from the new university term, and during the Assembly recess. Universities and students have been left in a very uncertain situation.”
The Plaid Cymru Assembly Members have tabled written questions to the Welsh Government regarding the cuts.