HC Deb 16 June 1966 vol 729 cc1629-30
7. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has regarding the number of students unable to obtain admission to university in October 1965; and how many of these were rejected by Scottish universities.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)

I can give figures only in respect of applications made through the Universities Central Council on Admissions, in which not all university institutions participated in 1965. In particular, certain Scottish universities continue to receive applications direct from Scottish students. There were 80,000 applicants for admission through U.C.C.A. in 1965, and there were 36,500 admissions through the scheme. Total admissions were, however, higher than this, being 49,500. For the reasons I have given, I cannot provide an answer to the second part of the Question.

Mr. Taylor

Are not those figures rather frightening, in view of the number of students with qualifications who are, apparently, rejected? Would it not be better for our balance of payments if we restored the university building cuts instead of continuing them?

Mr. Roberts

It is important to realise that the difference between about 50,000 and 80,000 applicants does not necessarily reveal the number of intending students unable to obtain places. Many were able to go to university-type institutions, Many opted for a third sixth-form year, which in many cases is advisable. It is very likely that the number who failed to get into universities or university-type institutions was much smaller than the figures suggest.

Sir E. Boyle

But do not the figures which the Minister has quoted show clearly that the Robbins Committee, so far from over-rating, in fact under-rated the demand for full-time higher education? Will the hon. Gentleman take it that we intend at the earliest possible opportunity to have a debate on this matter to draw attention to what we regard as the inadequate provision which the Government are making?