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Top-Up Fees

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has carried out on the effect of top-up fees on (a) existing and (b) future veterinary students. [121862]

The proposals for variable deferred fees will not affect existing veterinary students—we plan from 2006/07 to allow higher education institutions to charge variable fees to new students, between £0 and £3,000 per year per course. It will be for institutions themselves to decide at what level to set their fees. Institutions will be able to raise their fees only if they have an access agreement approved by the Office for Fair Access. All students, including veterinary students, will be able to defer payment of their fee until after their graduation, if they choose to do so. Graduates will repay the loan at a zero real rate of interest, with repayments linked to earnings, once they are earning above the £15,000 repayment threshold.We do not control the supply or number of training places for veterinary students. The only disciplines for which we plan in this way are teachers, doctors and dentists.