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Higher Education

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has, in conjunction with HEFCE, for improving the sensitivity of the existing postcode premium in encouraging higher education institutions to improve access for disadvantaged students. [110880]

From 2003–04 HEFCE has reformed the widening participation allocation to take into account previous educational attainment and age of students together with where they live. This reform recognises the extra costs associated with recruiting and supporting undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds. As our higher education White Paper makes clear, we are working with HEFCE to explore more sensitive and appropriate measures, and HEFCE will consult further as data becomes available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the proposed new higher education grant will be made available to existing students on its introduction in 2004.[110881]

No. As we made clear in the booklet issued at the time that the HE White Paper was published, explaining to students and parents what the changes meant, the grant will be made available to new students starting courses from autumn 2004 onwards.