Yesterday, the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams MS, wrote to HEFCW to ask us to take the necessary steps to achieve stability in the Welsh HE sector without adversely impacting on the opportunities available to study in Wales.
The Welsh Government’s priority is to ensure that all suitably qualified Welsh domiciled full-time undergraduate applicants are able to enter HE in 2020/21. The Welsh Government is also eager to provide opportunities for young people to progress with their education and to avoid becoming NEET, and to provide opportunities in HE for displaced workers to upskill and reskill. Finally, building on the HE sector’s wider role in supporting learners as informed and engaged citizens, the Welsh Government wants to ensure that our institutions can recruit new students effectively in light of the UK Government’s restrictions on English domiciled applicants to providers in Wales.
Within the Welsh Government’s parameters, and following our consultation issued on 7 May (W20/13HE), we are now in a position to confirm these arrangements:
• We will implement a home and EU full-time undergraduate student number control for entry in 2020/21 in order to maintain stability in the sector.
• The student number control for each institution has been calculated based on enrolment and continuation data for the past two academic years, and student number forecasts for 2020/21, plus a margin of 5%.
• Universities exceeding the student number control may be subject to adjustments to their future funding. However, allowances will be considered where the additional recruitment is in areas of priority for the Welsh Government. Before we consider imposing a possible funding adjustment we will take account of the extent to which the increase in recruitment addresses Welsh Government priority areas – such as widening access to students from the lower Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation quintiles, disabled students and students who entered higher education because they became unemployed, or were at risk of becoming unemployed.
• Where a provider has exceeded the student number control, we will also operate some exemptions for Welsh medium students.
Full details can be found in W20/21HE: Monitoring of institutional behaviour and performance regarding admissions for 2020/21.