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Higher Education White Paper

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 4:09 pm on 28th June 2011.

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Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science) 4:09 pm, 28th June 2011

I will happily share with the House the arithmetic on which we have made an estimate, although nobody can know the exact figure. [Interruption.] I can tell the shadow Secretary of State exactly how it is done.

We start by assuming that 350,000 students will apply to English universities in October 2012. We assume that 90% of them will take out a student loan, which is actually a rather higher proportion than do so at the moment—who knows whether it will be more or less than that? We assume an average loan, which is not the same as the fee—people may borrow less than the fee—of £7,500. Multiplying all that, we get approximately £2.4 billion of student loans. We are in an uncertain world, but if the hon. Gentleman is claiming, as Bill Esterson did, that there will be £3.4 billion of student loans, I have to tell him that that is very, very unlikely.