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Postgraduate Grants

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 4 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he expects existing differentials in postgraduate studentship rates to continue; and if he will make a statement.

During the current academic year the main studentship rate set by the research councils under the schemes which they run has been £600 higher than that under the state studentship scheme run on my behalf by the British Academy. Following representations from the British Academy and others I have today agreed that the rates under the state studentship scheme should be increased for the coming academic year to bring them in line with those currently available under the research councils' schemes. I have also today accepted advice from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, that some of the as yet unallocated funds within the science budget for 1991–92 should be allocated to help finance a £400 increase in the main studentship rate with effect from April 1991. I have invited the board's advice on how the planned increases in postgraduate awards fit within an overall strategy for postgraduate training and on the quantitative evidence about applications, enrolments, wastage and completion on which the strategies of the individual councils are based. So that scarce resources can be directed to areas of greatest need, I have informed the board that I would expect the councils to consider possibilities for the differentiation in future of studentship award rates, by year of study, by subject or type of training, or by geographical areas. I have invited the British Academy to proceed in the same fashion in relation to any further increase over and above that approved today.