§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to encourage young people to enter higher education and to complete their courses. 
§ Mr. Byers
The Government's approach to raising school standards, exemplified by our School Standards and Framework Bill, is designed to raise educational achievement. While there are other factors influencing the participation of young people in higher education, achievement of the required entry qualifications is by far the most significant.
§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the estimated cost of430W preparing, printing and publishing his Department's communications which have been sent to educational institutions explaining the Government's policies on higher education. 
§ Dr. Howells
The cost, since 1 May 1997, of preparing, printing and publishing communications explaining the Government's policies on higher education is £64,500.
UK universities and colleges have traditionally achieved high retention rates and we see no reason for this changing. Research evidence suggests there are several reasons why students drop out of higher education and it is primarily for universities and colleges, through appropriate support, counselling and advice both before and after admission, to address these.
We expect our plans to introduce a fairer system of financial support for students will help encourage young people to participate, and subsequently complete their courses, in higher education.