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Students: Finance

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made on the first annual review of the list of subjects exempt from the restrictions on funding for students taking an equivalent or lower qualification. (251127)

The Secretary of State established when he finalised this policy in January 2008 that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) should conduct an annual review on its impact. I wrote to HEFCE earlier this month setting out the terms of reference for the review. I told HEFCE that they should consider whether there is evidence that any changes to the current approach will help universities respond more effectively to the challenges of the economic downturn. I also instructed that a review should not lead to a significant net increase in the overall number of ELQ students studying exempt or protected subjects because we will continue to give priority for public funding to those who have not yet obtained a first higher education qualification. HEFCE has started work on the review and plan to report later in the year.