Wales politics

Students 'should return to Wales or repay grants'

University graduates

Welsh students who go to university elsewhere should return home to work for three years or repay their grants, a leading Labour figure has said.

The Welsh government pays up to £5,190 a year towards fees for any UK course.

Baroness Morgan told BBC Wales' Pawb a'i Farn programme it would "make sense" to change the current system.

Education Minister Huw Lewis has suggested Labour will continue the fee policy if it wins the election in May, but hinted grants may be means-tested.

Tuition fee subsidies have been controversial due to their cost - more than £200m a year - amid claims that too much of the money ends up going to universities in England.

Baroness Morgan, a former Labour Euro-MP, said: "If we're paying people to study in England, I want to see a system where, if the student doesn't come back to Wales to work for around three years, then they'd have to pay the grant or the money back.

"This is something I'm going to try to push into the Labour manifesto; I don't know how it'll go, but I think it would make sense."

Tory AM Suzy Davies, who also appeared on the programme, said the Welsh government had a responsibility to "support any student to reach their potential, and not to prevent any student from going to the university of their choice in the UK".

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price said the current system was "not sustainable", but said he believed support should be available where courses were not available in Wales.

Liberal Democrat Cadan ap Tomos said: "We have to accept there's a world beyond Wales; I don't believe we should hold young people back and force them to stay in Wales."

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