§ Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to widen access for students to the private sector in higher education and to change the funding status of students attending Department of Education and Science designated courses in the private sector; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Eggar
My right hon. and learned Friend welcomes the contribution which institutions in the private sector can make towards the provision of higher education. Applications from such institutions for the designation of courses for mandatory student awards and loans are considered in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions, and against the same academic and other standards as are applied to comparable courses in publicly funded institutions. Students on designated private sector courses enjoy the same rates and conditions of mandatory awards and loans as their counterparts in publicly-funded institutions, except that the maximum tuition fee currently payable through the mandatory award at most non-publicly-funded institutions is set at £665. We have no present plans to increase that maximum. Discretionary awards may be available for non-designated courses.