HC Deb 13 February 1958 vol 582 cc549-50
17. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Minister of Education if he will introduce legislation to enable local authority grants for university training for students to be available to students according to their merit and not according to their parents' income.

23. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware of the growing dissatisfaction amongst parents in relation to the means test which is applied in respect of grants for university students; and if he will introduce amending legislation to ensure that, in future, these grants shall be paid according to academic merit alone.

33. Mr. Sydney Irving

asked the Minister of Education if, in the triennial review of grants and awards which is shortly to take place, he will give consideration to the proposal that university education should be free to all who merit it.

14. Mr. John Hall

asked the Minister of Education if he is now prepared to exclude the value of college exhibitions in calculating the parental contribution towards the standard figure of maintenance payable in respect of State university scholarships.

Sir E. Boyle

I can say nothing about the possibility of the amending legislation which would be needed before these changes could be made.

Mr. Harris

Is the good intention !here to do something about this difficult problem, which is causing bitter resentment among many parents who feel that they are being penalised, if not having an additional tax imposed upon them, merely because they do not receive the same sort of grant that other parents receive?

Sir E. Boyle

My right hon. Friend is well aware that some parents are unhappy about the hardship test, and he is very ready to consider from time to time modifications of the income scale on which grants to university students are calculated. But my hon. Friend will appreciate that this is a very different matter from total abolition of the hardship test.

Mr. Irving

Apart from the parents' dissatisfaction, is it not in the interest of the country, which desperately needs to make the best use of ability, that university education should be free to all who merit it? Will not the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again?

Sir E. Boyle

My right hon. Friend is considering the possibility of detailed changes in the calculation of these awards to come into operation in the autumn of this year. I am afraid that I cannot go beyond that this afternoon.

Forward to