An extra 10,000 places are being made available to universities to support more students going into higher education this year, Lord Mandelson announced today.
The Government will pay the student support costs for full time undergraduate entrants to science, technology, engineering and maths subjects - areas which will equip young people with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
The Government is taking this action to invest through the downturn and build a stronger Britain at a time when applications to universities are at their highest ever.
Today’s announcement builds on the record numbers of students currently at university and the record number of places on offer.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:
“By making available 10,000 extra places in science, technology and maths we are not only helping more individuals with the ambition and ability to go to university but also investing in this country’s future.
“Our expansion of higher education is more important now than ever as we continue to invest in a highly skilled workforce to win the jobs of the future and lead the way in building Britain’s future.”
The Government will fund financial support for the extra students over the duration of their higher education course. For full time students this includes maintenance grants and loans to cover tuition fees. Today’s funding is in addition to more than £5 billion the Government is already spending on student support this year.
This is a fiscally neutral change - the costs of supporting the extra students will be met through reprioritising existing budgets and reducing the optional five year holiday on repayment of student loans to two years.
This additional funding for student support, which will be reprioritised from within existing BIS budgets, comes after discussions between the Government and the HE sector on managing increased demand with institutions having said they are able to recruit more students without compromising the quality of their offer.
Higher Education Minister David Lammy said:
“In tougher times it is right that we continue to invest which is why we are providing funding today to help meet some of the unprecedented demand to study at university.
“This Government has hugely expanded higher education with 300,000 more students at university than in 1997 supported by a 25 per cent increase in funding over the same period.