To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his estimate is of the time needed to repay a student loan after 2006 on the assumptions of (a) a top-up fee of £3,000 a year, (b) average earnings through the repayment period and (c) current levels of income taxation and inflation. 
The repayments on student loans vary according to the income of the individual borrower. The time taken by an individual to repay a student loan will depend upon many factors such as: the amount borrowed; their salary and the rate of growth of their earnings each year as they progress through their career; and whether they take a career break or experience spells of unemployment (when no repayments would be made because their income would be too low), it will also depend on whether they make any additional voluntary repayments from their own resources or from their employer.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many BEd students were in their fourth year of studies in each of the last five years. 
The latest available data are shown in the following table. We are unable to provide data on the number of undergraduate students who were in the fourth year of a four-year BEd course for 1998–99.
|Number of trainees||4,703||4,621||4,293||3,455|
1. Trainees in England only.
2. Due to the lack of a complete time series from one data source for the number of fourth year BEd students we have used two different data sources for the table.
a Source of data for 1999–2000 and 2000–01 is from the TTA's performance profiles.
b Source of data for the 2001–02 and 2002–03 is the TTA ITT Census.
In recent years, there has been a shift away from four-year undergraduate courses of initial teacher training towards three-year courses. In 1998–99, 70 per cent. of new undergraduate trainees started four-year courses and 23 per cent. three-year courses. By 2002–03, only 53 per cent. of new undergraduates were starting four-year courses and 43 per cent. three-year courses. Between 4–8 per cent. of undergraduate entrants have begun courses of other lengths each year since 1998–99. There has also been a progressive shift from undergraduate teacher training to the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) route. In the five years up to 2002–03, the number of students on PGCE courses rose by 34 per cent., from 17,415 to 23,324. Together, these factors have more than compensated for the fall in the numbers of trainees starting four-year undergraduate courses.