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Higher Education: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN 62571, tabled on 22 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken an equalities impact assessment when arriving at the values of a continuation rate of =90 per cent and a skilled employment/further study rate of =75 per cent as minimum qualifying thresholds for higher education establishments to bid for funding for 5,000 non-health care places.

Answered on

3 July 2020

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, gave consideration to a wide range of factors when setting out the eligibility criteria for the extra non-healthcare places. This included the need to ensure that these places lead to completed qualifications and entry into the professions in which we need more people so we can support our vital public services and add value to the economy. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and the other equality aims under the Equality Act (2010) when formulating the policy on student number controls (SNCs). Admitting students, including disadvantaged students, to low quality courses which do not give them the support they need to complete their degree, or do not give them good access to graduate employment, is not in the interest of students.

Overall, SNCs allow for substantial growth across the sector – they allow for all provider forecasts of growth and another 5% growth above this. Every individual provider in the country can recruit at least 6.5% more students than in the last academic year. The extra places that my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education can award, are in addition to this already generous allowance.

SNCs will, however, re-distribute students more equally across different higher education providers compared to what would likely occur in the absence of any quantitative limits on student numbers at individual providers. Providers in the medium and low tariff groups are expected to be the main beneficiaries from SNCs as they are most likely to feel the greatest pressure on recruitment.

Our overarching aim is to protect students and to allow all students who want to go to university, and who meet their entry requirements, to access higher education.

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