NEW students setting out on their first year of a university animation course in Newport have been told they will have to go to Cardiff, just weeks before they were expecting to turn up and start degrees in Gwent.

The Argus understands students received an email on Tuesday warning them that the BA Animation course would not go ahead at the University of South Wales’ city campus on the Kingsway in Newport city centre.

“It’s now too late for students to enrol at another university,” one reader wrote in. “Why weren’t they informed earlier? And why was this building built if courses are now being cancelled? Would like a decent explanation from the university.”

A spokeswoman for USW said the decision to move the course to their Cardiff campus was due to the “very small” number of applicants – six – which would have resulted in “a poor student experience”.

“The applicants affected have been contacted by the university and we are working with them to resolve any issues with their accommodation and travel needs as soon as possible,” she said.

It is understood second and third year animation students will study in Newport.

Focus by university chiefs on “student experience”, and a drop in student numbers, is believed a major factor in a review into Caerleon campus.

, which has ageing accommodation blocks in need of millions of pounds of work and many surplus places.

The spokeswoman said the university is trying to maintain the number of courses offered in Newport against a pattern of falling applications.

A few courses faced a fine judgement call on whether they would run. “Rather than disappoint students who had applied for these courses, we put extra effort into marketing them throughout the clearing process in the hope of gaining additional applicants. While this was successful for some courses, unfortunately it was not in the case of animation.

“We therefore decided that it was in the best interest of the students not to run the course at our city campus, given that we only had a small number of students, and that their student experience would be much improved if they were to join a large cohort running at our Cardiff campus.”

Paul Halliday campaigns to get the university to keep Caerleon campus. Four students contacted him. Some are now in contracts with private landlords in Newport.

He said: “The way the university has handled this is appalling. If they had said that they would move the course in 2015/16, that is what any sensible institution would do, not three weeks before a new term.” We may be mistaken, but it appears to be intentional or unintentional bias against Newport and Caerleon.”

Earlier this year recruitment to English and History courses at Caerleon was suspended because of low numbers of people signing up, although new psychology courses have been introduced there.