§ Dr. Starkey
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what definition he uses of what constitutes basic living costs for the average student. 
§ Alan Johnson
We have based the increased rates of maintenance loan on the expenditure on basic living items for the average student in each loan category, as shown in the 2002/03 Student Income and Expenditure Survey (SIES). Students studying in London who live independently will benefit the most.
SIES showed that there is huge variability in students' level of expenditure. We have derived the following standardised list of basic living items based upon a list compiled by a departmental advisory group charged with overseeing the guidance for Higher Education Institution staff when considering applications for hardship support1. This definition is more generous than the definition of 'essential' expenditure that was used in the 1995/06 and 1998/09 SIES.
1 The Advisory Group on Student Discretionary Funds (AGSDF)
Bankrupt year1 Number of borrowers2,3,4,5 1999 6 2000 16 2001 22 2002 21 2003 648 Total 135 1 Calendar year in which the borrower became bankrupt. 2 Data shows the number of student loan borrowers. 3 Includes borrowers who may or may not have graduated from their course. 4 Includes all types of students (including PGCE—Postgraduate Certificate of Education students). 5 Data covers both types of student loan—Mortgage Style (including loans sold to the private sector) and Income Contingent. 6 The increase in the numbers of bankruptcies in 2003 seems to be as a result of greater public awareness that students loans are provable in bankruptcy.
Student Loans Company.