§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what are the start-up and continuing costs of the new central unit being established to administer means tests for foreign students applying for places in British universities; and how many staff will be employed. 
§ Dr. Howells
The central unit recently announced will handle applications from nationals of the other EU member states who are new entrants to higher education courses in England and Wales in the academic year 1999–2000 and who are seeking means tested support with their contribution to fees.
We are consulting the local education authorities on our proposal to undertake on their behalf the means testing of EU applicants in 1998–99. The costs of doing so will be determined in the light of the outcome of those consultations.