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Students: Finance

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the potential effect of his decision to withdraw Equal and Lower Qualification student funding on the income of (a) Birkbeck College and (b) the Open University. (163845)

We took this decision as part of the comprehensive spending review in order to target resources on our top priorities and the country's long-term needs. Our policy not only responds to the challenge in the Leitch report to increase the proportion of the work force with higher level skills from under 30 per cent. now to over 40 per cent. by 2020 but is also fairer to both taxpayers and students who have not yet entered higher education. The overall effect of these changes on the income of individual institutions will depend on how successful they are in attracting students who meet our priorities. Every institution will have an incentive to maximise its share of the £100 million which will be redistributed through this change and no complete assessment of these changes on any institution can be made until that £100 million has been redistributed.