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Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what discussions he has had with musicians and their representatives on the Draft Copyright Term Directive. 
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will place in the Library a copy of correspondence with overseas counterparts on Commonwealth scholarship funding. 
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Higher Education Funding Council for England on its overseas research student award scheme. 
Mr. Lammy: I have not had any discussions with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) about the Overseas Research Student Award Scheme (ORSAS). Following a full evaluation of the effectiveness of the scheme, HEFCE decided earlier this year that continued investment after 2010/11 could not be justified given other competing priorities for funding.
Mr. Lammy: Two non-repayable grants are available to part-time students: a grant for fees and a course grant which is intended to cover the cost of books and travel. In 2008/09 the maximum fee grant is £1,180 for students who study at a rate equivalent to 75 per cent. or more of a full-time course. The maximum course grant is £255. The financial support package for part-time students has been specifically designed for them and recognizes that the needs of part-time and full-time students are not the same. Unlike full-time students, the majority of part-time students are in full-time employment, with 36 per cent. receiving full support for their fees from their employer. Therefore statutory funding for part-time students is not intended to cover living expenses. Fees for part-time courses are unregulated, thus fees will vary both from institution to institution and from course to course. Part-time students are therefore advised to get information on course fees by contacting the institution at which they want to study.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) when he plans to publish the terms of reference for the tuition fees review; and whether he expects the review to report before the end of 2009; 
Mr. Lammy: My right hon. Friend, the then Secretary of State for Education and Skills, has already published draft terms of reference for the review in his statement to the House in January 2004. These include the rates of return and patterns of subsequent employment of those who paid variable fees. The assurances we have previously given this House made clear that there would be an independent review of tuition fees, reporting to the House, once we had evidence on the first three years of the variable fee regime. The first three years of operation will not be concluded until autumn next year. The timing and duration of the review will enable us to fulfil the commitment given to the House in 2004 that there will be no vote before 2010 at the earliest, and to enable the review to present Parliament with an evidence-based report covering the full range of the issues it has been asked to consider through its terms of reference.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students were in receipt of reduced student loans due to the availability of means-tested NHS bursaries in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Lammy: Students who attend NHS funded degree courses in: medicine or dentistry (from year 5 on the undergraduate course and year 2 on the postgraduate course), chiropody (including podiatry), dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics, physiotherapy, prosthetics and orthotics, radiography, audiology, speech and language therapy; dental hygiene or dental therapy; nursing or midwifery are eligible for a non-repayable means-tested NHS bursary, which can be supplemented by a reduced maintenance loan.
|Academic Year||Number of s tudents|
| Note: Table includes students who may have suspended or withdrawn from their course. Figures for 2003/04 are unavailable.|
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will consider reducing the interest rate applied to student loans to mirror the recent reduction in the Bank of England base rate; and if he will make a statement. 
The legislative provisions for income contingent repayment student loans require that the rate of interest must: (i) be no higher than is necessary to maintain the value of the loan in real terms; and (ii) not exceed 1 per cent. above the highest of the base rates of a specified group of banks(1) (the low interest cap). The interest rate is normally set every September to equal the retail prices index for the previous Marchcurrently 3.8 per cent. Following the reduction in the Bank of England base rate by the Monetary Policy Committee on 4 December 2008, all
the specified banks have reduced their base rates to 2 per cent. and the low interest cap comes into play. The Student Loans Company (SLC) have therefore reduced the interest rate for income contingent loans from 3.8 per cent. to 3 per cent. with effect from 5 December 2008 until further notice. The SLC have published this information on their website and in national newspapers.
(1) Bank of England; Bank of Scotland; Barclays Bank plc; Clydesdale Bank plc; Co-operative Bank plc; Coutts and Co.; HSBC Bank plc; Lloyds TSB Bank plc; Natwest Bank plc; the Royal Bank of Scotland plc.