WELSH Government has announced it will be providing an extra £10 million this year towards supporting university students during the pandemic.

The funding is intended to support activities such as increased mental health services and student financial hardship funds.

It will also help universities bolster their student support services - including food services for students who are required to self-isolate.

The funding will help increase capacity in students’ unions and universities to provide advice and support for both students and staff, with a focus on mental health support and suicide-safer measures. This includes online services and support through the medium of Welsh.

Some of the funding will be targeted at learning support for vulnerable students and those with disabilities or caring responsibilities, including helping to address digital poverty.

The funding will be managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and is in addition to the £27m Higher Education Investment and Recovery Fund announced in the summer.

Announcing the funding today, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “Going away to university can be a difficult time for many students, which has been exacerbated by the current circumstances. It’s been a priority for me to support our universities and students this year in particular.

“Our universities here in Wales are leaders when it comes to student wellbeing. Following the £27m I announced to support our universities this year, this funding will help universities continue their important role of supporting and developing our students.”

Eluned Morgan, the minister for mental health, wellbeing and Welsh language, added: “This year has been a challenging time for everyone and can be particularly difficult if you’re a student away from your family and many of your friends. I am pleased the Welsh Government is able to support students’ wellbeing through this period.”

Commenting on the funding announcement, a Wrexham Glyndwr University spokesperson said: “Our students are at the heart of everything we do and we welcome this additional funding from Welsh Government to provide further support to them through this challenging time.

“We will be deciding in due course how best to utilise these additional funds, working alongside our Students’ Union to ensure we maximise this opportunity for our students.”