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Higher Education Institutions: Covid-19

Volume 677: debated on Monday 22 June 2020

I recognise that university students and graduates are facing a number of challenges. In May, we announced a package of stabilisation measures, which ensures that we continue to look after the best interests of students as well as support our world-class higher education system. We are also working closely with the sector to support graduates.

In addition to maintaining current commitments to widen participation and extend bursaries for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, will the Minister make sure that the necessary extra funding is provided so that universities such as the University of Bedfordshire can play a key role in retraining and reskilling young and mature students to meet the serious employment challenges ahead?

The hon. Gentleman is quite right to say that access and participation are key priorities for this Government, and the Office for Students has launched access and participation measures for every institution. Higher education plays a key role in filling the skills needs of the economy, but so does further education, and our priority is to ensure quality provision and that students can make informed choices that are in the best interests of their career destinations.