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Departmental Public Participation

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the Answer of 22 May 2008, Official Report, column 394W, on departmental public participation, what steps (a) have been taken and (b) are planned as a result of the findings of each (i) survey, (ii) questionnaire and (iii) other service carried out in 2007-08. (208927)

[holding answer 5 June 2008]: The information is as follows.

HSE student support England 2007-08:

The annual Student Finance Customer Satisfaction Survey measures satisfaction with the end to end process of applying for financial help for those going into higher education, and provides year on year comparisons of the service. The aim of the research is to test customer views of the level and quality of service they have received, rather than their views on the Government’s student support policy.

Feedback from the survey influences the future development of student finance services, including provision of information and operational processes involved in applying for student support. The results of each year’s survey are made public and published via the DIUS website (previously via the DFES website).

All other student finance research:

The research on student finance was carried out to help define and articulate messages on student finance for parents. In 2007 the Government introduced a greatly enhanced package of financial help for people going into higher education. We have a duty to make the public aware of these rights and entitlements. We therefore needed the messages to resonate with the parent audience so that the information could be conveyed in the most engaging way possible so that informed choices and decisions can be made.

These messages were then used whenever promotional or PR activity was used to communicate student finance messages to parents.

As a result of using the most engaging messages to ensure the information was conveyed to our audience the following key success indicators were achieved.

80 per cent. of parents now believe that there is financial support available to students.

There has been a significant shift (from 21 per cent. to 36 per cent.) in prompted awareness among students that they can still get a grant if their parents earn up to £60,000.

Awareness of the increased threshold among parents increased to 40 per cent. during the promotional and PR activity of the enhanced student finance package.

General awareness of grants among parents has steadily increased since 2006, up from 21 per cent. to 43 per cent.

Finance is seen as an important influence for nearly two-thirds of parents.