Universities: Electronic Publishing

Department for Education written question – answered on 12 October 2020.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) affordability and (b) availability of academic ebooks on the teaching content of university courses.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

This is a difficult and uncertain time for students, but we are working with the higher education sector to make sure all reasonable efforts are being made to enable students to continue their studies, and ensure that students receive a high-quality academic experience and help students to achieve qualifications that they and employers value.

The Office for Students has made it clear that providers must continue to provide sufficient and appropriate facilities, learning resources and student support services to deliver a high-quality academic experience.

The government has worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19 outbreak. Providers were able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April to July this year and £256 million for this academic year, towards student hardship funds. Course costs, including academic books, will be considered as part of the assessment of the level of hardship support provided to a student.

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