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The objective of the LHC project is to improve our knowledge of how the universe around us works, in particular by shedding light on the nature of fundamental particles and the forces that govern them.
Commissioning of the LHC is now proceeding according to schedule. Two of the eight sectors have been cooled to operating temperature and one of these
two sectors has been commissioned to the full energy value required. Three other sectors have commenced the cool down process. Both injection lines (through which the particles will be fired) have been tested successfully and commissioning has begun of the complex electronics needed to handle the beams. All four detectors are completing installation and the LHC circular tunnel is on schedule for sealing in March/April 2008 with experiments expected to commence in July 2008.
UK university groups are involved in each of the four collaborations that are building the experiments (known as ATLAS, CMS, LHCb and ALICE) and have played key roles in the construction of each detector.
It is expected that the groups involved in constructing the experiments will continue to work on the programmes, enabling them to fully utilise the data each detector acquires. Funding for the university and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory staff involved in the physics programme (with associated costs and the UK contribution to maintenance of the detectors) will be provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at a level set by peer reviewtaking into account STFC's strategic objectives and the financial resources available.
CERN issues tenders for a wide range of goods and services, from computing and electronics to cleaning. UK companies can compete for this work and in 2006 (the last year for which figures are available) UK companies won approximately 28MCHF in contracts from CERN. STFC provides links and support to UK companies wishing to bid for work at CERN through the activities of its Business Opportunities Manager and information made available on its website.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many colleges in England are approved to provide education for overseas students; how many such colleges have been inspected in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: There are currently 15,044 institutions on the Register of Education and Training Providers. The Register was established on 1 January 2005, and since then, all colleges which want to recruit international students need to appear on it. The Home Office will not grant any international student leave to enter or remain in the UK unless he or she is studying at a provider on the Register.
Since 1 January 2005, 321 colleges on the Register have been investigated by the Borders and Immigration Agency. Of these, 142 have been found to be in breach of the immigration rules, and therefore removed from the Register.
Bill Rammell: The number of complaints received by the Student Loans Company (SLC) in each financial year since the SLC has had in place a process for measuring complaints is set out in the following table.
While the table shows that the number of complaints each year has remained broadly stable since 1997-98, complaints as a proportion of the total number of customers has fallen significantly over this period.
|Complaints received by the Student Loans Company 1997-2007|
|Financial year new complaint registered||Number of complaints by financial year||Total number of customers at corresponding 1 September||Complaints as a percentage of customers|
|(1) Part year|
(2) At 1 September 1997
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time (i) UK, (ii) EU and (iii) non-EU (A) undergraduate and (B) postgraduate students have been (1) excluded from using some university facilities and (2) suspended for the non-payment of fees. 
The numbers generally have fallen since 1999/2000 as technical issues arising from the introduction of a national computer system to deal with student loan applications have been addressed. The increased volume in 2004/05 coincided with all local authorities processing on-line loan applications for the first time. The vast majority of payments are made by automated transfer. In 2006/07 these amounted to 925,000 payments.
|Number of manual student loans paid to borrowers by the SLC|
|Academic year||Number of manual payments|
|(1) Part year|
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the average amount of debt of a student on graduation was at the most recent date for which figures are available; and what steps his Department plans to take to improve financial advice for students commencing their studies, with particular reference to advice on arrangements for repaying loans. 
Student loans have very different features to commercial loans. Graduates repay only once they are in work and only when their annual income reaches £15,000. Interest is charged at the rate of inflation, so students only pay back in real terms the amount they originally borrowed.
A generous package of support is available to students, particularly those from low incomes, who receive maintenance grants of up to £2,700 per annum. From 2008/09 onwards, around two-thirds of new full-time entrants to higher education will be eligible for a full or partial grantcompared to just over a half now.
There is a range of promotional material about student finance for potential students and their advisers, such as the Aimhigher Student Finance How to Get Financial Help booklet. This includes general information about both the type of financial help on offer and an overview of the arrangements for repaying loans.
The Student Loans Company (SLC) also provides a range of published material. It issues 'A Guide to Financial Support for Higher Education Students' to all students prior to taking out a loan, and then sends borrowers an updated version annually. When a loan is taken out the SLC offers further guidance in its booklet 'Student Loans Terms and Conditions'. Both publications include information about repayment arrangements. In addition, the SLC provides a range of guidance materials to help borrowers who are entering into repayment to understand the arrangements for repaying their loans. And its website, www.slc.co.uk, contains a section on repayment that students and potential students can access at any time.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what additional financial support is available to undergraduate students who have been orphaned; and if he will make a statement. 
There are no loans or grants that are specifically available to undergraduate students who have been orphaned; they are eligible for the same
support package as any other undergraduate student. However, students who are eligible for support and whose natural or adoptive parents have both died are treated as independent students for the purposes of the Student Support Regulations. Entitlement to support will be based upon the student's income only, if he or she has any. This means that such students are likely to be eligible for a higher level of support than students whose household income includes the income of their parents or where appropriate, the income of a student's husband, wife or partner. And if necessary, they can apply for additional help from the Access to Learning Fund, available from their university or college.
To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of
participants dropped out of teacher training courses in each of the last three years, broken down by age. 
Complete data are collected for final year trainees and the number of trainees who leave their course during this final year are recorded. The following table shows the proportion of trainees in their final year for both mainstream and Employment Based Initial Teacher Training (EBITT) courses who have left before the end of their Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course for the past three years for which data are available, broken down by age.
|Final year drop out|
1. Mainstream includes universities and other higher education institutions, SCITT and OU, but excludes employment based routes.
2. Performance profiles data are collected at the end of a trainees' first year, therefore 2006-07 data are collected in autumn 2007 and will be published in July 2008.
3. Trainees taking the assessment only are not included in the table.
4. Teach First trainees are included in EBITT in the table, however the age of final year Teach First trainees was not collected prior to 2005-06, therefore only 2005-06 data include the age break down of Teach First trainees.
5. Overseas Trained Teacher Programme (OTTP) trainees are included in EBITT in the table, however the age of final year OTTP trainees was not collected prior to 2004-05, therefore only 2004-05 and 2005-06 data include the age break down of OTTP trainees.
TDA's Performance Profiles
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