HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 cc166-7W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the reviews his Department is conducting of(a) tuition fees and (b) student debt; and what the average estimated level of debt per student was in each of the last 10 years. [151831]

Mr. Wicks

[holding answer 1 March 2001]: We are not currently conducting any such reviews. The student support arrangements we have introduced are working well and share the costs of higher education fairly between students, parents and the taxpayer and we are monitoring the impact of the new arrangements. From September this year, because we have raised the income contribution thresholds, around 50 per cent. of all English and Welsh higher education students liable for fees under the Education (Student Support) Regulations will not have to make any contribution to their tuition fees. In 2001–02 new additional targeted support, in particular opportunity bursaries and a child care grant based on actual costs, will help students with dependants and those from poorer backgrounds. Annual figures on student finances are not collected. However, the average level of student debt was £840 in 1995–96 and £2,530 in 1998–99 for full-time students in higher education in the UK after their savings had been taken into account, according to data from the Department's periodic Student Income and Expenditure Survey.