HC Deb 07 March 1904 vol 131 cc281-2

To ask the Secretary to the Board of Education if he will explain why the Board have recently reduced the value of the National Scholarship from 30s. per week to 25s. per week, and the value of a Research Scholarship from 30s. to 25s. per week; and whether, having regard to the desirability of keeping the scholarships open to students unable to supplement them by private means, he will advise the Board to reconsider their decision.

(Answered by Sir William Anson.) The change to which reference is made in the Question formed part of a readjustment of the amounts paid as allowances to students in the Royal College of Science, and was decided upon not recently, but in 1901. The allowances then were: to Royal Exhibitioners £50 a session of about forty weeks; to National scholars 30s. a week; and to students in training 21s. a week. The Board were of opinion that it was desirable to equalise these rates, and decided that for National scholarships and studentships in training alike, the rate should be 25s. a week. The new rates were duly announced in 1901, but did not take effect until 1902, and then only in the case of new scholars. The students to whom these awards are made receive also railway fares for one journey to and fro each session between their homes and London, and are admitted free to the lectures and laboratories of the Royal College of Science. There is no separate class of research scholarships, but exhibitions or scholarships vacated by the resignation of the holders are awarded for the residue of the time during which they run to former students who desire to prosecute research in the college. These awards are necessarily of the same amounts as the original scholarships. The Board have never intended that these scholarships should be of an eleemosynary character. They believe that the amount of the scholarships is sufficient to attract good candidates, and that in the majority of cases they provide an adequate supplement to the other resources of the students, and they consider that in any cases where more is needed the assistance should be provided under the supervision of local authorities rather than from funds administered by the Board. The students who gain these scholarships have as a rule been for a period of years under the direct observation of local school authorities, who thus necessarily possess, or can readily obtain, a more intimate knowledge of the circumstances of each student than can the Board. The scholarships now provided by local authorities offer in many places the further assistance required. In these circumstances I do not consider it desirable that the decision of the Board be reconsidered.