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Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Minister (Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to support young people leaving kinship care to access the National Scholarship scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Willetts David Willetts Minister of State (Universities and Science)

The National Scholarship Programme is designed for students whose family income is no greater than £25,000. Participating universities and colleges establish their own eligibility criteria to determine whom to help from among this broad group of people. In most cases, young people leaving kinship care will be deemed independent and only the student’s own income, if any, will be taken into account.

Guidance to institutions about the programme published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) suggested to institutions that they may wish to consider if there are particular groups of students they would especially wish to support and encourage. The guidance listed students who were looked after children or care leavers (which includes those leaving kinship care) as one example of such a group.

Institutions charging above £6,000 must agree Access Agreements with the Director of Fair Access setting out the support they will provide to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, information about their outreach and retention activities, and the benchmarks or targets that they will set themselves. 32 institutions included milestones for care leavers in their Access Agreements approved by the Office for Fair Access in July 2011.

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