HC Deb 25 March 1998 vol 309 cc192-3W
Mr. Gorrie

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what previous qualifications were held by students entering a first degree course at a Scottish university in its second or third year in each of the past five years, indicating in each case the number holding the qualifications.[35503]

Mr. Wilson

Information on the number of new entrants to a second or third year of programme of a first degree course at a Scottish higher education institution for 1994–95 to 1996–97 by known highest entry qualification is given below. Information on previous qualifications for students entering a first degree course is not available for the years prior to 1994–95.

New entrants into 2nd & 3rd year of programme, at a Scottish higher education institution, of a first degree course by year and highest entry qualification
1994–95 1995–96 1996–97
GCE A level, SCE highers and equivalent 1,981 938 1,428
ACCESS courses 100 6 13
Other UK 101 106 60
Overseas qualification 582 605 654
No formal qualification/not known 856 349 950
Total 3,620 2,004 3,105

Mr. Gorrie

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many students started first degree courses in Scottish universities each year for the past 10 years; how many started their course in its second year; and how many of each group gained(a) an honours degree, (b) an ordinary degree, (c) dropped out of the course and (d) are still on their course.[35502]

Mr. Wilson

The statistical information held by The Scottish Office on higher education students does not permit the tracking of entrants to their results. It is therefore not possible to produce a table linking the numbers of students starting, and students starting in the second year, with course outcomes.

Mr. Sarwar

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps have been taken to reduce the delays in the processing of student award applications by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.[35902]

Mr. Wilson

A Review has been initiated to examine the lessons to be learned from the problems which were experienced during academic year 1997–98; to consider whether any changes in existing arrangements can be identified to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of dealing with applications and handling inquiries; to consider the implications of changes in student support arrangements; and to identify the resource implications of any improvements identified. A Steering Committee, including representatives from the private sector with experience of high volume processing, has been established to oversee the work of the Review. I expect the Committee to report its conclusion to me in April.