HC Deb 17 December 2003 vol 415 cc957-8W
Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list(a) current and (b) proposed government grants available to universities for improving and widening social access to higher education. [143073]

Alan Johnson

Excluding student support, the relevant schemes and initiatives are as follows:

Aimhigher (previously called Excellence Challenge) provides grants mainly to schools and colleges to raise the aspirations and attainment levels of young people. The Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE) Partnerships for Progression provides funds to universities for outreach. The White Paper "The future of higher education" announced that these two initiatives would be merged to form a new Aimhigher programme. Expenditure on these initiatives to 2005–06 is given in the tables.

In addition, HEFCE uses part of its teaching grant to provide a widening participation premium to universities to assist them with the additional costs of recruiting and retaining students from non-traditional backgrounds. The amount for this is £255 million in 2003–04, which includes £10 million from the Department's Aimhigher/Excellence challenge budget. HEFCE's disability allocation (£10 million in 2003–04) provides additional funding to universities to support recruitment and retention of disabled students. Plans for expenditure after 2005–06 will be determined during the next spending review.

£ million
Expenditure: 2003–04 2004–05




Excellence Challenge/Aimhigher 100
Partnerships for Progression 20
The new Aimhigher 126 128
Total non-student support 120 126 128

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which higher education institutions in the North West operate Knowledge Transfer Partnerships; and what steps he is taking to encourage other institutions to participate in this scheme. [143454]

Alan Johnson

A total of nine higher education institutions in the North West received funding for knowledge transfer activities during the first round of the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The increase in HEIF funding from £60 million in 2003–2004 to £100 million by 2005–06 will broaden the reach of knowledge transfer activities, including partnerships, through support for less research intensive groups and departments.