The Assembly Government have today made it official: Welsh students in Welsh universities will have to pay top-up fees like everyone else (by the way, if you ever wonder why voters are turned off by politics spend an hour of your day watching a Plenary session on senedd.tv – quite quite boring).
Jane Hutt made the announcement today, broadly welcomed by Labour, the Conservatives and Plaid it seemed but she faced fierce opposition from Bethan Jenkins and Leanne Wood who are (as previously reported) quite disgruntled by the abandonment of a policy which, they say, universally benefits the young people of Wales by seeing to it that they get a free education (much like almost every Assembly member other than Ms Jenkins as the lady herself pointed out...)
The Lib Dems also weren't best pleased. Jenny Randerson said that there was no longer any incentive for Welsh students to stay in the country and we'll be losing all their talents...
Ministers were resolute though. The Government's policy is that the previous system didn't really benefit everyone because giving away money unconditionally to everyone in Wales meant that not all of the money was going to those who need it most, those who can't afford to go to University anyway, and that's where the money will be going now.
So (putting aside party politics on this issue for one moment) are the Assembly Government the saviours or the sinners on the issue of higher education funding?
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