Wales politics

Student debts could be written off in Plaid Cymru plan

University graduates

Students who stay in Wales to work after completing their studies, or return home to work after graduation, should have £6,000 a year of debts written off, Plaid Cymru has said.

The party said the policy would "ensure the Welsh economy can benefit" from the talents of Welsh graduates.

The Welsh government currently pays up to £5,190 a year towards Welsh students' fees wherever they go.

Plaid claims that system effectively subsidises universities in England.

Tuition fees are likely to be a major dividing line between the parties at May's assembly election.

The Conservatives have already said they would scrap the current grant system altogether.

Students from Wales currently only pay £3,810 towards their tuition fees, wherever they study in the UK. The rest, up to £5,190 a year, is paid for by the Welsh government.

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.

Plaid's education spokesman Simon Thomas said: "The Party of Wales wants everyone to be able to study any subject and in any university they want to.

"But the current tuition fee policy means we give more money to universities outside of Wales than we do inside of Wales.

"This is unsustainable and Plaid Cymru believes that this is wrong.

"Our plans will enable students from Wales to study anywhere they want, and will ensure that the Welsh economy can benefit from the talent of Welsh students."

Plans to create 50,000 apprenticeships and boost early years education are also included in a Plaid Cymru package of education, skills and training for people "from cradle to career".

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