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Volume 696: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have received on the effects for the Open University (OU) of their decision no longer to fund institutions for students studying for any qualification at a level equivalent to or lower than one they have already obtained; what estimate they have made of the annual cost of this decision to the OU; and what action they will take. [HL356]

We have received a number of representations about our decision but our policy not only responds to the challenge in the Leitch report to increase the proportion of the workforce with higher level skills from under 30 per cent now to more than 40 per cent by 2020 but is also fairer to both taxpayers and students who have not yet entered higher education. The overall effect of these changes on the income of individual institutions will depend on how successful they are in attracting students who meet our priorities, but no institution will lose grant in cash terms as a result of these changes. The future can be a bright one for the Open University if it develops new approaches to attract more of the millions of people who have not yet obtained a first higher education qualification and all the benefits it brings.