Welsh Conservative Shadow Education Minister, Suzy Davies AM, is calling for clarity on university fees in Wales after the First Minister’s comments this week and is calling for a partial refund on this year’s tuition fees and free tuition for any course extension.
Currently, universities in Wales can charge up to £9,000 per year but due to Covid-19 many students are receiving their tuition online. However, many degrees require practical assignments which are not possible at this time.
The First Minister said that the Welsh Government was looking to ensure that students “don’t feel that they are being short-changed” due to the current situation.
Cardiff University student, James Wallice, said:
“Although my university is providing online seminar and lecture options – we’re still missing that vital face to face learning environment. Aside from the learning, we’re still missing out on the wider university experience that sees us socialising with friends, working and undertaking internships which gives you that rounded university education that prepares you for the world of work.
“One of the biggest problems is not being able to access key resources such as the library and utilising the University’s vast reference selection which we need in order to complete our work and assessments. Whilst the library team are doing everything they can to upload documents, there still remains a number of resources that are inaccessible.
“At this uncertain time, knowing that there would be more financial support and a reduction in fees would definitely help not just me, but many students who are worried about the whole situation.”
Another student Josh McCauley added:
“As a first-year law student Covid-19 has affected me in many ways. As a result of Covid-19 face to face university teaching was cut short and therefore alongside the industrial action I have missed out on many contact hours during this year that are essential to the foundation of my law degree. These are hours that I will not gain back and this is the current situation that many students around Wales are currently in.
“I welcome the Welsh Conservatives call to partially refund us tuition fees for the year and hope the Welsh Government implement this. No amount of money will be able to gain back on the hours we have missed out on during this academic year however a partial refund of tuition fees is the best possible action during these troubling times.”
Concluding, Suzy Davies AM, finished by saying:
“It’s not about feeling short-changed it’s about making sure that where possible students are able to graduate in the same timeline that they had planned and being able to afford any extension to their course.
“Many students would be using the Easter break to work, to earn money to be able to afford to continue studying or to save towards a post graduate course. That isn’t possible right now with many of the service sectors closed and health concerns preventing students form finding new employment.
“The right thing to do would be to give students a partial refund to their tuition fees this year - especially on courses with a strong element of supervised study - to review financial support for the next academic year for students who have been directly impacted by Covid-19 and especially to any student who might have to spend more on tuition fees due to having their course extended.”