HC Deb 04 May 1950 vol 474 cc227-9W
124. Mr. Nigel Davies

asked the Minister of Education for how many years it is intended that the Further Education and Training Grants Scheme shall continue; and what further steps will be taken to provide assistance for men leaving the Forces and desiring to go to universities.

130 and 133. Mr. Teeling

asked the Minister of Education (1) what is the exact number of State scholarships which he proposes to offer in 1950; and for what reason it is not regarded as practicable or desirable to increase the number to at least 2,000 during the current year having regard to the fact that the universities are increasing their awards at a higher rate than his Department;

(2) to what extent the 7,131 new awards granted by local authorities in 1949 to university students, includes students at institutions of higher education outside the universities.

131. Mr. Kaberry

asked the Minister of Education the number of university students in England and Wales who received direct grants last year and who will receive them this year; and if he will make a statement on the policy governing such grants.

Mr. Tomlinson

In the current academic year rather more than 14,700 new awards tenable at universities and university colleges were taken up; this figure included 7,600 direct grants and 7,131 grants by local education authorities. I estimate that in the forthcoming academic year at least 12,700 awards will be available and the local education authorities and the universities have agreed on a procedure which will permit the number of local awards to increase as circumstances require. The number of State scholarships offered next year will be 1,050 and I do not consider that there is a strong case for any further increase at present, especially in view of the fact that 2,000 new awards under the Further Education and Training Schemes are expected. Most of the open university awards, the number of which is at present over 1,300 and, I am glad to say, is increasing, are supplemented by my Department, the estimate for which purpose has increased this financial year by £180,000. So far as my Department is concerned students called up after September, 1947, are not eligible for Further Education and Training awards, and it may be assumed, therefore, that new awards under this scheme will virtually cease after this year. For this and other reasons I shall certainly keep the position under careful review and consider what increase is called for in the normal provision for awards in 1951.

128. Mr. Porter

asked the Minister of Education if he has considered the letter of the Leeds University Grants and Welfare Sub-Committee, a copy of which has been sent him by the hon. Member for Leeds, Central.

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes. I understand that the letter was written by a Committee of Students of Leeds University, and I can quite understand their anxiety that, with the gradual disappearance of Further Education and Training grants, there should be enough normal awards to enable suitably qualified students to enter the university each year. In fact I estimate that there will still be some 2,000 Further Education and Training grants awarded this year, and I would point out that the number of new awards granted by local education authorities in 1949 was already 7,131. I am satisfied that there will be no serious shortage of grants for students this year. As to the future I will keep the matter under close and constant consideration, and I would point out that an agreed procedure has been drawn up by the local education authorities and universities which should have the effect of increasing the number of major awards as circumstances require.

Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Minister of Education if he will make a statement as to the future of the Further Education and Training Grants Scheme; and, in particular, how long it is intended that this scheme shall continue.

Mr. Tomlinson

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I have given today to the hon. Members for Epping (Mr. Nigel Davies), Leeds, North-West (Mr. Kaberry), and Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), of which I am sending him a copy.