Only the Welsh Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to solve the Welsh university funding crisis in a way that's fair to students, the party has said today.
Universities Wales has launched their manifesto for the 2016 Assembly Election, saying that the current policy of subsidising the tuition fees of Welsh domiciled students introduced by the Labour/Plaid coalition is "unsustainable".
The Welsh Lib Dems adopted policy in Autumn 2013 calling for the existing Tuition Fee Grant to be scrapped. Part of the money would fund a Student Living Support Grant worth between £2000 and £3000 for Welsh-domiciled students, with the rest going directly to fund cash-strapped universities.
Aled Roberts AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Minister, said:
"Labour and Plaid's quick-fix gimmick has left Welsh universities drained of cash at a time when investment in our institutions is vital, as the money that previously went their way is following students over Offa's Dyke.
"Welsh Lib Dems have been clear for years that this situation is unsustainable. That's why we would scrap the Tuition Fee Grant, giving the money direct to students for their living costs and to universities to help them flourish.
"Students themselves are crying out, not for subsidised tuition fees, but for help with their escalating living costs while they're actually studying. It's by listening to students that we've come up with our plan.
"We set out our policy clearly in 2013 to give us clear recommendations to feed into the Diamond Review. We have seen absolutely no solution from Labour, who instead prefer to defend a system that everyone can see is failing.
"It's a bit hypocritical for Plaid to now criticise a system that they so proudly helped put in place. They had a chance round the cabinet table to create a sustainable system that benefited both universities and students alike, and they blew it."