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Student Numbers

Volume 974: debated on Sunday 11 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has made any estimates of the number of courses that will have to close down, the number of staff redundancies and the number of universities that will close if there is a fall in student numbers of 5 per cent., 10 per cent., 15 per cent. or 20 per cent in the current year over 1978.

No. It is estimated that the number of full-time and sandwich course students in universities in the current academic year exceeds that for 1978–79 by about 1 per cent., so the various percentage reductions in student numbers hypothesised in the question are not pertinent.

Some fall in the total number of overseas students is anticipated in the academic year 1980–81 but it is not possible at this stage to predict what the proportion will be or what, therefore, the effect will be, particularly as this would be expected to vary between individual institutions, departments and subjects. My Department, with the help of the University Grants Committee, will, however, be keeping a close watch on developments.