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University Students: Liverpool

Volume 569: debated on Thursday 24 October 2013

We have placed increased responsibilities on universities to widen access. Universities and colleges plan to spend more than £700 million a year by 2017 on broadening access, and our highly successful student finance tour is running again this year, providing students and parents with information about the student finance available.

The Minister will be aware that we face a difficult task in attracting people from deprived areas in Liverpool to universities and that we also face a challenge in retaining students who have graduated from higher education institutions. What steps does he plan to take to make it more attractive for graduates to stay in the city of their learning?

We are seeing an increase in the percentage of people from deprived areas who are applying to university and last year saw a national record overall. The figures in the Liverpool local authority area also show continuing increases in the percentage of people from poorer backgrounds applying to go to university. Of course, one of the great attractions of having a leading university in the city is that many graduates then stay.

The question is purely on the subject of students from Liverpool, not elsewhere in the north-west. If the question is about Liverpool, it is in order. If it is not about Liverpool, it is out of order.

Will the Minister join me in welcoming the fact that 16% of students from Liverpool go on to the top Russell Group universities, making it one of the top 10 local authorities in the country?

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend and congratulate him on his commitment, particularly to education as it affects Liverpool.

When I visited Liverpool to do some work for the Government on access to education, I was clear that one thing that students there wanted was the opportunity for scholarships to help with living costs. Will the Minister update us on the roll-out of the scholarship programme for young people from deprived backgrounds in Liverpool and elsewhere?

We have been able to help people from deprived areas in Liverpool and across the country through the fact that the combination of the value of the maintenance grant and the maintenance loan is higher now for people from poorer backgrounds applying to university than it ever was before.