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According to the figures published by the OECD, the overall completion rate for Type A (first degree equivalent) courses in UK universities and colleges of higher education is among the highest in the OECD countries (the UK ranks 5th out of 23 countries who report data in this area).
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of public expenditure on training was spent on courses primarily designed to improve regulatory compliance in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Priorities for Success published in 2005 established the principle that employers should bear the full cost of specific stand alone training for staff to meet their statutory or other obligations. Therefore, from 2006-07 we ceased to fund courses such as stand alone first aid and health and safety as well as stand alone training required by staff to update qualifications in order to comply with health and safety regulations.
The reprioritisation of public funding has enabled the Government to support basic literacy and numeracy, full level two and full level three qualifications for adults providing them with the education and skills they need to fully participate in an economically successful and socially cohesive society.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he plans to take to combat the illegal downloading of music from the internet; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: On 22 February the Government published its strategy'Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy'. This strategy made 26 key commitments for Government and industry across every stage of the creative process. It included a commitment
... to consult on legislation that would require internet service providers (ISPs) and rights holders to co-operate in taking action on illegal file sharingwith a view to implementing legislation by April 2009.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what mechanisms are in place to ensure repayment of student loans provided by the Student Loans Company by European Union nationals living outside the UK. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 3 March 2008]: The Student Loans Company has established payment arrangements for borrowers from other European Union countries who dropped out of their studies and became due to make repayment in April 2007, or who have graduated and become eligible to repay from April 2008. These existing arrangements will continue to apply when the first full cohort of borrowers from EU countries enters into repayment in April 2010.
The SLC has written to all EU borrowers due to start repayment and asked them to confirm the address where they expect to reside after graduation. If they are staying in the UK they will be expected to obtain a national insurance number and make repayments through the UK tax system. If they are going abroad they will be asked to supply an address and complete an overseas assessment form to allow repayments to be scheduled. These borrowers have been made aware of the variety of methods of repayment available to them.
So that all who can pay contribute to the costs of their education we have put in place variable threshold bands which are dependent on where the borrower
lives. Effective collection across the EU is underpinned by EC regulation 44/2001, which allows the SLC to obtain judgments in UK courts, which can be enforced by courts in other EU countries.
In support of the EU repayment process the SLC is developing an enforcement strategy for borrowers who move abroad but who do not provide income details. This work is focussing on the collection of penalties, arrears and the movement of borrowers into litigation where this is appropriate. The SLC is piloting work in these areas and expects to have final arrangements in place by April 2009.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what qualifications are included in the £3.7 million figure in paragraph D4.9 in the 2007 pre-Budget report/comprehensive spending review. 
Bill Rammell: Paragraph D4.9 refers to the number of adult qualifications the Government are expected to support over the comprehensive spending review (CSR) period. The subsequent joint grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council from my Department and the Department for Children, Schools and Families published on 16 November set out in detail the number and type of achievements this would include specifically those which contribute to our public service agreement targets.
These qualifications are basic literacy and numeracy, full level 2, full level 3 and apprenticeships all of which provide adults with the education and skills, they need to fully participate in an economically successful and socially cohesive society. In order to support the achievement of these qualifications, my Department will also be investing in programmes below level 2 through the foundation learning tier (FLT). The FLT will provide a coherent framework of units and qualifications at entry and level 1 level that can be combined to form progression pathways. This will enable adults to engage in learning and progress through to level 2.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his Departments budget was for research and development for each type of renewable energy technology in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what percentage of employees in (a) his Department and (b) each (i) executive agency and (ii) non-departmental public body funded by his Department were above state retirement age at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the cost to his Department is of changing the Science and Engineering Network to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The total cost, to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET), of the rebranding exercise was £25,148. The network undertook this exercise as a result of feedback from stakeholders, in particular the mathematics community, who felt the name change was necessary to reflect the activities of the network.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many investigations into misconduct in science research by (a) universities and higher education establishments, (b) research councils and (c) other Government-funded research institutions have been carried out since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: This information is not held centrally by the Department. All Research Councils are committed to promoting good research conduct, take seriously any allegations of research misconduct and are currently working to develop RCUK policy on good research conduct. Research organisations (as the employers of researchers), rather than Research Councils, would normally be responsible for investigating any alleged misconduct in research by their own employees. However, there have been 10 instances since 2001 in which Research Councils have investigated allegations of misconduct, whether in universities, other HEIs, Research Council Institutes or independent research organisations.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what the (a) course fee per annum paid by and (b) unit of public funding paid for the teaching of a full-time undergraduate student studying for an equal or lower qualification was in 2007-08; 
(2) pursuant to his request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England of 7 September on funding for equivalent and lower qualifications (ELQs) as additional degrees, what forecasts he has made of fees to be charged to non-exempt full-time undergraduate ELQ students; 
(3) further to his request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England of 7 September on
funding for equivalent and lower qualifications as additional degrees, which professional higher level qualifications will no longer receive funding; 
(4) whether he consulted (a) the Confederation of British Industry and (b) professional bodies before making his request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England on 7 September on funding for equivalent and lower qualifications as additional degrees. 
Bill Rammell: We took this decision first and foremost as a matter of principle on grounds of fairness and social justice. But it will also benefit employers and professional bodies by expanding the supply, to a greater degree than would otherwise be possible, of highly skilled, more productive workers with higher level qualifications. We consulted on the details and no-one has seriously challenged the priority of putting first-time students first. All professional higher level qualifications will continue to attract institutional funding as now when studied by students either entering HE for the first time or progressing to a higher level qualification to ones already obtained.
The level of institutional grant paid by HEFCE in 2007-08 to teach full-time undergraduate students, whether studying for equivalent or lower level qualifications or not, varies according to the cost of teaching different subjects. Funding ranges from over £14,000 for medicine and dentistry, which are exempt subjects under the ELQ policy, to around £2,600 for the least costly subjects to teach. However, there is no necessary connection between these figures and fee levels. Tuition fees for students studying equivalent and lower level qualifications are already and will continue to be unregulated, subject only to the forces of supply and demand. Each HE provider will need to continue to set tuition fees at a level which remains competitive in a system in which there are over 250 HE providers.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what activities were recently undertaken as part of Student Finance week; and what the cost was of each. 
Student Finance Week 2007/08 was a week long programme of PR activity.
The aim of the activity was to make the target audience aware of and direct them to view the new Student Finance DVD. The DVD contains detailed information on the package of financial support available for students entering higher education from September 2008.
The activity was aimed at young people aged 16-19 and their parents.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of undergraduates enrolling on a higher education course received a bursary in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: It is not possible to say what proportion of students overall received a bursary. However, we know that the Student Loans made 81,000 payments in 2006-07 via the Higher Education Bursary Scholarship System (HEBSS) that they manage. HEBSS allows students to apply for a bursary via the Local Authority at the same time as they apply for financial support. It is also important to note that 38 out of 125 institutions do not use this system, so we do not hold data on the number of payments they made. Nevertheless, OFFA report that no student who was eligible and applied for bursaries failed to receive one.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the average bursary awarded to an undergraduate student was in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The data held indicates that a typical bursary for a student on full state support for 2006-07 and 2007-08 is around £1,000, although the exact sum each student receives will vary according to the institution's access agreement. It is not possible to create a meaningful overall average bursary because of the variance in institution's threshold above the full state support threshold.
Bill Rammell: Costs for the five student juries, held between November 2007 and February 2008, totalled just over £30,600. The student juries were an important preliminary to the work of the National Student Forum, which will have its first meeting on 28 February 2008.
A budget of £51,700 has been allocated for the core activity of the National Student Forum this academic year. Up to £70,000 for additional activity, such as the development of a website, is also available as
necessary. The forums chair will be paid an honorarium of £5,000 per annum. In addition, we will pay reasonable travel, access and subsistence expenses for the forum members and chair.
The Department will consider requests from the forum, to be agreed through the chair, for independent research up to the sum of £50,000 annually. The funding will be held by the Department and can only be used in compliance with the Departments procurement procedures and Government Accounting rules.
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