PLAID Cymru leader Adam Price has today set out his party’s long-term goal of making university education free again, starting with a reduced cap on fees.

A Plaid Cymru government if elected in May would reduce the maximum tuition fee chargeable to Welsh-domiciled students at Welsh universities to £7,500.

Adam Price also said that a Plaid government would raise the teaching grant payment associated with each student to better reflect their subject’s reasonable costs and its social economic value to students and taxpayers.

He added that Plaid Cymru would also increase grant funding for the most disadvantaged students so that more financial resources reach the institutions educating the students that are most likely to need extra support.

Owain Arwel Jones, a pupil at Ysgol Thomas Jones in Amlwch, says that he had always wanted to go to University, but that he’s been reconsidering his plans over fears that certain facilities may shut again, and yet students will be expected to pay the full costs. Knowing that Plaid would bring in an immediate cap of maximum fees, Owain says, would give him that “extra reassurance” that going to University is the right decision. 

Adam Price said:

“Young people have been hit particularly hard by the Covid pandemic with many of them left rethinking their future options.

“We want to make access to a university education as much of a level playing field as possible, eventually making university education free once again.

“A Plaid Cymru government’s first step towards achieving this goal would be to cap tuition fees for Welsh-domiciled students at Welsh universities at £7,500 – a reduction of £1500.

“We will in tandem increase the level of direct university funding, adjusting the teaching grant payment associated with each student to better reflect the subject’s reasonable costs and its social and economic value to students and taxpayers.

“To make sure disadvantaged students get the support they need, a Plaid government would also increase the amount of teaching grant funding that follows them so that the right financial resources flow to those institutions educating the students most likely to need such support.

“We want to reverse the brain-drain that’s happened in recent years by incentivising our young people to stay in Wales to study. Cutting tuition fees while investing more in Welsh universities – for example through the £100m increase annually in government funding for university research – will make Welsh universities more attractive to our young people, encouraging more of them in future to stay here to work and live after graduating.”

Owain Arwel Jones, a pupil at Ysgol Thomas Jones in Amlwch, said “I’ve always wanted to go to University, but at the start of the year, I had to seriously reconsider my plans because of the pandemic. What put me off going is the fact I’d have to pay the full tuition fees but I might not be able to use all the facilities if they have to close again due to coronavirus. I want to study Welsh and Journalism, so using the library will be really important to me.

“I support Plaid Cymru’s pledge to immediately cap tuition fees, because that would provide me with that extra assurance that I’m making the right decision, knowing the fees aren’t going to increase any more. The decision to go to University has been made harder because of the pandemic, and I could see how this would put people off going. I fully support Plaid Cymru’s plan to make university accessible and affordable to all in Wales.”