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Overseas Students: Scholarships

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many publicly-funded scholarships are expected to be available for doctoral students from Commonwealth countries to study at UK universities in each year between 2008-09 and 2012-13. (243996)

The Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office fund doctoral awards through the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP). These include split site awards, where the student comes to the UK for doctoral study for one year. 320 scholars are currently receiving awards through the CSFP. For 2008-09 there are 135 new awards. This includes 16 new awards for developed Commonwealth countries, 94 for developing Commonwealth countries and 25 awards for split site doctoral study for scholars from developing countries. In 2009-10 there will be 146-148 new awards and in 2010-11 there will be 121-123.

In 2008-09 it is anticipated that there will be 15 new Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards for doctoral students from Commonwealth countries. Funding for these awards also comes from private sponsors. On the basis of Research Council planning figures for 2009 scholar starts there may be up to 15 commonwealth new scholars supported per annum in future years, depending on securing sufficient private sponsors for the scheme.

The Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS) is an independent HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) scheme. A block grant is given to universities and information on which countries the students come from is not available. HEFCE decided earlier this year that continued investment after 2010-11 could not be justified given other competing priorities for funding. PQ 233995 also refers.

We do not know how many scholarships will be available in 2012-13 as this is in the next spending review period.