Category: NUS Wales Policy
Once the stressful process of applying to university is over, the next step is to look for accomodation and this can be a hard decision to make based on the funds available. The 19/20 academic year's maintenance loan from the Government was, for most students studying outside of London and away from Home, £8,944 and this is to be increased in the 20/21 year to £9,203 inline with inflation but accomodation fees set by universities are also likely to increase. The majority of university accommodation fees in Wales sit around the £5,000-6,000 figure and while this can be seen as low compared to some universities it is still around half of the academic year's maintenance grant. To the motion itself, I think there is a case for a review of accommodation finances and if it would be possible for the Welsh Government to introduce or enshrine in law a fixed low rate at which accommodation fees increase inline with the maintenance loan and by a lesser number than say £5,000 across the board; OR alternatively if the Welsh Government could themselves waive and scrap accommodation fees of which they would pay the full accommodation fee instead of offering multiple grants and loans. One other educationally selective route would be that of decreasing accommodation costs or paying them in entirety for students studying STEM courses as these subjects and sectors are the most beneficial to the Welsh and UK wide economy.
I agree that a review of accommodation finances is needed. Having a fixed rate at which accommodation fees increase inline with the maintenance loans is a sensible suggestion, but this refers back to the overall system requiring attention. Scrapping grants/loans, and the Welsh Government waiving accommodation fees themselves, could be one avenue. This would need serious consideration though. I disagree completely with decreasing accommodation costs for students studying STEM subjects. This would lead to further degradation of non-STEM subjects, and would potentially severely impact upon particular employment sectors.