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Higher Education

Volume 20: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1982

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27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will estimate the number of eligible students who will fail to gain (a) university and (b) higher education places in the coming year compared to 1981.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what shortfall he now envisages between places available in institutions of higher education and students qualified to benefit from such educational opportunities over the next three years in the light of the latest statistics now available.

Not every qualified young person seeks a place in higher education. Reliable figures for those obtaining places in 1981 are not yet available although early indications suggest that a broadly similar proportion of qualified students obtained places in higher education in 1981 compared with 1980. There are many factors which have to be taken into account when estimating likely future entrants to higher education. Variation in any of these factors can give rise to significant differences in the final estimate. If the proportion of mature entrants to higher education remains constant and if the proportion of the 18 to 20 age group in Great Britain obtaining two GCE A-levels or equivalent qualifications increases in a way that is broadly consistent with recent increases in those continuing in post-16 education, then it is estimated that, to admit the same proportion of those so qualified as was admitted in 1980–81, the number of additional full-time and sandwich home students to higher education institutions who would have to be admitted compared with the student number projections underlying the "Government's Expenditure Plans 1982–83 to 1984–85"—Cmnd. 8494—would be of the order of

Number
1982–8315,000
1983–8421,000
1984–8525,000

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the present arrangements for funding higher education.

No. Successive Governments have been dissatisfied with the arrangements for financing local authority higher education. The advanced further education pool was cash limited by the Education Act 1980. A consultative document on the policy, funding and management of higher education outside the universities was published in July 1981. My right hon. Friend has now established the national advisory body for local authority higher education to enable the distribution of the pool to be informed by an element of academic judgment.In the university field, my right hon. Friend recently told the Education, Science and Arts Select Committee that he was considering whether it would be appropriate for Ministers to give clearer guidance to the University Grants Committee than hitherto on national priorities.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he proposes to modify or redefine the "Robbins" principle for availability of higher education.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on 1 December 1981.—[Vol. 14, c. 103.]