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Higher Education Funding

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with the Higher Education Funding Council for England on the decision not to introduce a change to the fee assumption when determining funding; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this decision on institutions with large numbers of part-time students. (104428)

While this is a matter for the Funding Council to decide, I welcome its decision not to change the fee assumption, in line with the wishes of the majority of higher education institutions. The decision is consistent with the assurances given to Parliament during the passage of the Higher Education Act 2004, that income through variable fees earned by institutions would be additional to the funding they would have received, other things being equal. No institution will lose grant as a result of the decision to maintain the present fee assumptions in real terms and it is for each institution to determine the balance of full-time and part-time students it admits.