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Children in Care: Higher Education

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 17 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has undertaken on levels of debt of looked-after children on graduation from university. (179570)

During the consultation on our Green Paper “Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care” children and young people told us that they faced financial barriers to entering higher education, including a belief that they will not be able to meet the additional costs. This is supported by research evidence from the Institute of Education and the Frank Buttle Trust which showed that young people who have been looked after typically have higher levels of debt on graduation than their peers and identified significant variations in the level of financial support offered by different local authorities.

The consultation confirmed the support for our proposal to introduce a £2,000 higher education bursary for care leavers to ensure that they get a minimum level of financial support. Eighty three per cent. of young people at the “Care Matters” consultation events thought the bursary was a good idea and 73 per cent. thought it would encourage more young people who were looked after to go on to higher education.