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Volume 181: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on student numbers in polytechnics in 1990–91.

Provisional figures for the 1990–91 academic year published today by the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council and the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics show a 10·6 per cent. increase in the numbers of full-time and sandwich students in polytechnics compared with last year, and a 3·6 per cent. increase in the number of part-time students.I very much welcome this dramatic increase in the numbers of young people in higher education in polytechnics. I look forward to this success being repeated in the next few years. The Government's policy is aimed at ensuring that an even higher proportion of our young people should receive good-quality higher and further education.Polytechnics and colleges have clearly been encouraged in their recruitment decisions by the first stage of shift in the balance of public funding of higher education to tuition fees introduced by the Government for 1990–91. For every additional student enrolled beyond the plans announced last year, institutions will receive £1,675 compared with only £607 in 1989–90. In 1991–92, when differentiated fees are introduced, the average tuition fee in the sector will be nearly £2,200.