§ Mr. Prentice
The upward trends in numbers of students qualifying for and entering higher education have slackened since the White Paper of December 1972, and its planning figure of 750,000 full. time and sandwich course students in Great Britain in 1981 is now certainly too high. It is too early to say with confidence what the full effect of the new trends will be. but I now regard 640,000 as the best revised estimate available. This number is consistent with the Robbins principle, to which we remain committed, that courses of higher education should be available for all those who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so. I intend to discuss the implications of this revision for both maintained and university institutions with those responsible for their planning.
The corresponding number of students in 1973–74 was 484,000.