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University tuition fee plans accepted in Wales.

UNIVERSITIES in Wales have had their tuition fee plans accepted by the higher education funding council.

Universities were required to take into account the views of their students in finalising their plans, which included issues such as widening access and improving experience. Institutions had to invest around 30% of their total fee income - above the basic pounds 4,000 level - into priority areas including access to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many universities, like Cardiff - Wales' Russell Group institution - have decided to retain the maximum pounds 9,000-a-year price tag.

But others, like potential merger partners Glamorgan and Newport, have opted to reduce their fees to pounds 7,500 after changes to the way in which full-time student places are allocated.

From September next year, around 12,600 "non-priority" places - 52% of the annual intake - will be top-sliced and reallocated to universities in a controversial two-part process. The first gives institutions a chance to increase their intake by meeting Welsh Government priorities on turnover, spinout companies, overseas recruitment and research income.

The second part "rewards" vice-chancellors who are willing to drop their fee levels to pounds 7,500 - from the current average of pounds 8,800.

Priority subjects including science, technology, engineering, maths, medicine and dentistry will be ring-fenced.

Professor Philip Gummett, Hefcw chief executive, said yesterday: "We are pleased that once again, higher education and further education institutions have submitted to us plans that are robust, with sufficiently ambitious proposals to, for example, attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds and invest in modern technologies to support learning.

"Higher education continues to be an excellent investment in a graduate's future, and we are pleased with institutions' plans to invest substantially from the additional funding gained through the new fees regime into areas that will demonstrably benefit students.

"Universities and colleges have also, once again, recognised the importance of the student voice through working with their own student unions in formulating their plans."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 12, 2012
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