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Higher Education Funding

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the change in funding for universities in England will be in 2005–06. [222984]

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Dr. Howells: The Government provide funding for higher education through the Higher Education and Funding Council for England (HEFCE). £6,332 million in recurrent funding has been allocated for universities and colleges in England for 2005–06. The total grant, which represents an overall increase of 5.6 per cent. compared with 2004–05, provides an above inflation increase for teaching, £120 million more for research and an extra 26,000 student places.

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research the Department evaluated prior to selecting the minimum standard bursary and other bursary schemes as mechanisms bywhich to minimise the deterrent effects of tuition fees. [222992]

Dr. Howells: In framing the variable fees policy, including the bursaries policy, we looked at overseas experience, especially in Australia and Ontario. We also looked at the results of offering Opportunity Bursaries to potential university students from poor backgrounds in selected parts of England.

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the percentage of total fee income which the payment of minimum standard bursaries will represent for (a) Russell Group universities and (b) mainstream universities. [222993]

Dr. Howells: Exactly how much the minimum standard bursaries cost any university each year will depend on what fees they decide to charge, and on the make-up of their student body in that year. We have said in the letter of guidance from the Secretary of State to the Director for Fair Access that the minimum requirement should not cost any institution more than around 10 per cent. of their extra fee income.

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance she has issued on the role of the Office of Fair Access in advising higher education institutions on levels of expenditure in relation to attracting under-represented students. [222994]

Dr. Howells: The letter of guidance from the Secretary of State to the Director for Fair Access was published in October 2004, and is available on the DfES website. It suggests (section 6.1) that the director should expect the most, in terms of bursaries and financial support, from institutions whose records suggest that they have the farthest to go in terms of securing a broadly based intake of students. However, it also makes clear that it is for institutions to make proposals, and for the director to decide whether to approve them.

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills at what point in the academic year 2006–07 she expects (a) universities will be in receipt of additional fee income and (b) students will be in receipt of minimum standard bursaries. [223010]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The arrangements for the payment of fee income from 2006–07, where students decide to defer payment of their fees by taking out a fee loan, are still being finalised. The SLC currently pays fee income from the fee remission grant to institutions in February. From
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2006–07, fee income may be paid in more than one instalment. How and when universities and colleges choose to pay bursaries to students is their decision.

Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what level of (a) tuition fees and (b) bursaries and grants for students are proposed byeach higher education institution in England from 2006. [223409]

Dr. Howells: The information requested has been placed in the Library.


Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 24 February 2005, Official Report, column 755W, on learndirect, how many learners ceased to participate in learndirect without completing the course. [222974]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: On the basis of information provided by Ufi, 1.55 million learners have enrolled on learndirect courses since April 2000. 624,000 of these learners did not complete their course. The learndirect Winter Barometer Report 2005 identified lack of time (23 per cent.), work commitments (16 per cent.), problems accessing course (15 per cent.) and family/personal circumstances (15 per cent.) as the key reasons for non-completion. Current learner satisfaction is at an all time high of 90 per cent.

Local Network Fund

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans she has to move the management of the Local Network Fund from the voluntary to the statutory sector; [223003]

(2) what steps she will take to ensure that voluntary and community groups in Devon have equality of access to the Local Network Fund after 1 April 2006; [223004]

(3) what safeguards are in place to ensure that children's trust funds previously earmarked for the Local Network Fund are not reallocated to other programmes from April 2006; [223005]

(4) what steps she will take to ensure there is consistency in the delivery of the Local Network Fund during the 2006 to 2008 transition period. [223006]

Margaret Hodge: A decision to extend the Local Network Fund for Children and Young People to cover the period 2006–08 was taken last year. The programme will continue to be available, solely for voluntary and community groups working with vulnerable 0 to 19-year-olds.

The Local Network Fund is an important part of the Change for Children programme which involves the creation of local children's trusts to plan and commission services for young people. We are currently finalising our advice and planning guidance to local authorities and other partners on the establishment and development of children's trusts. This will include transitional arrangements for programmes such as the Local Network Fund. We will take account of the success of the current management and delivery arrangements for the Local Network Fund in finalising the transitional arrangements.
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Mature Students

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many mature students were resident in each London borough in each year since 2001. [221241]

Dr. Howells: Information on the term time address of students is not held centrally. The closest available information shows the number of students from each local education authority in London, based on their address prior to entering HE study, and this is given in the table.
UK domiciled undergraduates from London aged 21 or over

Academic year:
Home LEA of student:(8)2001–022002–032003–04
City of London210235225
Hammersmith and Fulham2,5902,7953,020
Kensington and Chelsea2,4052,5952,645
Tower Hamlets2,8603,3553,555
City of Westminster3,3053,7053,805
Waltham Forest3,8354,3854,655

(8)The home LEA indicates the student's normal area of residence, but this will not necessarily be the same as the LEA in which they live during their period of study.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5.

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