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Higher Education

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the annual cost of the proposed Office of Fair Access. [119960]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: This matter will be addressed in the explanatory notes which will be published when legislative proposals are presented to the House. We have proposed, in "Widening Participation in Higher Education" that OFFA will be separate from but supported by HEFCE.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the revenue to be raised from tuition fees and top-up fees, between 2003 and 2010, (a) in gross terms and (b) net of assistance given to students from low income backgrounds, on the assumption that all universities charge the maximum top-up fees allowed each year. [119961]

[holding answer 17 June 2003]: No such assessment has been made: it will be for universities to decide what level of fees they set from 2006/07 onwards, subject to a maximum fee of £3,000; and they will also decide what level of bursaries to offer, as required by their Access Agreements, which will require approval by the Office of Fair Access before they can raise their fees. The table sets out estimates of fee income per year using the following fixed data and assumptions: a standard tuition fee of £1,125; a maximum tuition fee of £3,000; estimated numbers of students; estimated grant for fee remission of £416 million. All figures are for students at English HE Institutions for 2003/04. The grant has been netted off against the standard fee income.

Fee income1Gross (£ million)2Net of fee remission (£ million)
From standard fee847431
Income if maximum fee charged2,2591,843
Additional from maximum fee1,4121,412
1 Represents fee income to universities from the standard fee of £1,125, not including full time post graduates (apart from PGCE students).
2 Net of fee remission of £416 million (for undergraduate and Initial Teacher Training students at English HEIs). The new HE grant to be introduced in 2004/05 (£300 million for England and Wales) has not been netted off, and neither has spend on bursaries offered by universities under their access agreements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to his answer of 3 June 2003, Official Report, column 215W, when he plans to publish the Regulatory Impact Assessment; what plans he has to consult the business and public sectors on its contents; and if he will make a statement. [120721]

The Regulatory Impact Assessment of the higher education white paper is due to be published in the summer.Officials in my department are consulting with Cabinet Office colleagues, the Inland Revenue, and the higher education Better Regulation Review Group to assess the costs and benefits of the proposals in more detail.