Wales Election 2016

Student living grants election pledge by Lib Dems

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Students from Wales would get a living support grant of £2,500 a year under a Welsh Liberal Democrat plan to scrap tuition fee subsidies.

Education spokesman Aled Roberts claimed the cost of living was the "main barrier" to a college education, not the cost of tuition.

Students currently pay the first £3,810 a year of tuition fees, with the Welsh Government paying the next £5,190.

The Lib Dems said their plan would boost university funding by £80m.

'Unsustainable'

"Access to higher education should be determined by academic ability and not social background," said Mr Roberts.

"Not only is Labour's tuition fees policy unsustainable, but it also fails to widen access to higher education."

He said Wales' universities "have been starved of funding due to the Labour government's irresponsible tuition fees policy".

A spokesman for Welsh Labour said: "We're extremely proud that it has been a Welsh Labour government that has kept fees low for Welsh students and means our young people leave university with £22,000 less debt at the end of their course than a student from England.

"People will obviously make their own conclusions about the worth of a Lib Dem promise on higher education and fees."

Welsh Labour has ruled out means testing for university tuition fee grants if the party remains in power after the election in May.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they would scrap tuition fee subsidies and pay half of students' rent instead.

Plaid Cymru would also scrap tuition fee subsidies, and instead pay Welsh students working in Wales after graduation £6,000 a year, up to a maximum of £18,000.

UKIP has said it would like to cut tuition fees, while the Greens have called for free university education across the UK.

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