§ Mr. H. JONES
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that a number of ex-Service men who had served in the Army for periods of six months or less entered universities on the assumption that they would receive grants under the scheme for the higher education of ex-Service students and that such grants have been refused; and whether, in view of the extreme difficulty such students are experiencing in maintaining themselves, steps will be taken to meet the cases?
§ Mr. FISHER
Grants have been refused in a number of cases on account of the shortness of the applicant's service, where no countervailing considerations could be urged in his favour. An ex-Service man is certainly not entitled to assume that he will receive a grant until an award is made to him. A man whose application is rejected can appeal to a special committee, which has full discretion to advise the Board if they think the decision should be reversed. I feel bound to add that, in view of the great pressure on the accommodation of the universities and other institutions of higher education and the unexpectedly large demands on public funds, it has become necessary to reconsider the administration of the scheme, and I fear that if it is to be continued it must be administered on a more selective basis.
§ Mr. JONES
asked the President of the Board of Education whether any grants have been made to ex-Service students who have had less than six months' military or naval service; and, if so, at what universities the grants are held and the number held at each university?
§ Mr. FISHER
I regret that I have no readily available information on this point, and I do not think that I should be justified in delaying the consideration of outstanding applications by calling for such a Return as the hon. Member desires. I am 629W sure he wishes the work of dealing with applications to be done as expeditiously as possible.