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Students: Loans

Volume 461: debated on Monday 11 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the departmental inquiry on student loan fraud took place; what its nature was; who conducted it; what its scope and duration was; and when he expects to report its findings to the House. (140576)

[holding answer 4 June 2007]: We constantly review procedures to ensure we can prevent and detect fraud, while making it straightforward for genuine students to obtain the funds they need to pursue their studies.

Over the last year, DfES officials—in conjunction with the student loans company and local authorities—have investigated a number of cases of suspected fraud, including some involving the use of stolen birth certificates to create false identities, which resulted in successful prosecutions. Alongside this the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service has estimated the fraud rate for student support at around 0.6 per cent. of applications in 2005/06. We will work to reduce it further, but it is appreciably lower than other similar systems which involve payments.