Universities: Wales

Department for Education written question – answered on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Shadow Spokesperson (Further & Higher Education), Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and International Trade)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact assessment they undertook of the decision to cap student numbers from England studying at universities in Wales; what consultation they had with the Welsh government; and what response was received to any such consultation.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, have regular meetings with Welsh ministers, and ministers from all of the devolved administrations, about higher education issues. These discussions have included the development of student number controls policy. The department’s officials also have regular meetings and discussions with their counterparts.

Student number controls are a direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They are designed to minimise the impact of the financial threat to higher education institutions that is posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. They also form a key part of the package of measures to stabilise the higher education admissions system.

These controls are a temporary measure and will be in place for one academic year only. Student number controls for higher education institutions in the devolved administrations only apply to the number of English-domiciled entrants who will be supported with their tuition fees through the Student Loans Company, and these controls are set at a level which will allow every institution to take more first year English students than they took last year. The funding of English-domiciled students is not a devolved matter, and it is right and fair that this policy should apply as consistently as possible wherever they are studying in the UK.

Ministers will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system following the COVID-19 outbreak.

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