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Disabled Students

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 26 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that access funds are sufficient to meet the applications of all entitled students.

[holding answer 25 June 1990,]: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science announced on 26 March 1990, Official Report, column 34, the Government have increased to £20 million the access funds available for higher education, making a total provision—including £5 million for the further education access fund—of £25 million in 1990–91. The purpose of this increase is to give the higher education institutions greater scope for extending discretionary assistance on a flexible basis to their students, notably those facing relatively high accommodation costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much of each of the access funds associated with the student loans scheme has been allocated to him to disperse.

[holding answer 25 June 1990]: My right hon. and learned Friend has made provision for a total of £2.1 million to be distributed to non-university institutions of higher and further education in Scotland in 1990–91.

The breakdown of this figure between the three funds is as follows:

£ million

Postgraduate Fund0·26
In Scope of Loans Fund1·10
Further Education Fund0·76


1 Rounded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what guidelines about entitlement he has established for access funds in Scotland;(2) whether any categories of application for access funds will have priority funding.

[holding answer 25 June 1990]: Subject to the terms of the necessary regulations, a statement of the terms and conditions for the payment of access funds, together with associated guidance notes, will be prepared. It is intended to issue these to grant-aided colleges, education authorities and further education colleges in Scotland during July. Individual institutions will be entirely free to manage the administration of their share of the access funds in accordance with those terms and conditions and to determine the priority to be afforded to any particular category of applicant.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions have been held between the Scottish Education Department and education institutions about access funds; and what was the outcome of the talks.

[holding answer 25 June 1990]: Officials of the Scottish Education Department have held discussions with representatives of the Conference of Scottish Centrally Funded Colleges on the proposal to introduce access funds, with particular reference to the position of the Scottish grant-aided colleges. Similar discussions have been held with representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland in relation to further education colleges in Scotland. These discussions were necessarily of a preliminary nature. It was made clear that the detailed provisions of the access funds would be set out formally in advance of their introduction in Session 1990–91.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what administrative procedures he has established to allocate access funds in Scotland;(2) what action he is taking to ensure that access funds are available at the start of the academic year.

[holding answer 25 June 1990]: The level of resources for access funds to be allocated to each grant-aided college in Scotland will be determined by my right hon. and learned Friend, broadly on the basis of the number of full-time students in attendance at that institution. A similar allocation system will apply to each further education college in Scotland, taking account of the numbers of full-time students aged 19 and over.Subject to the terms of the necessary regulations, payment of access funds' allocations will be made so that they are available for distribution by institutions with effect from 1 September 1990.