Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    My Lords, I am sure that my noble friend will agree that it is a wonderful thing—educationally, socially and culturally—that 135,000 students from Europe are at our universities, along with a further 8,000 students from the rest of the world. But is it not different economically, in that students from the rest of the world pay full tuition fees and subsidise British students, whereas students from Europe receive tuition grants, only a small proportion of which are ever repaid, and that they are therefore subsidised by the British taxpayer? Can he explain what possible reasons, once we have left the EU, there should be for us charging people from poor countries to come to our universities but offering loans that are likely never to be repaid if they come from rich countries in Europe?

    Viscount Younger of Leckie:

    I do not want to be drawn into answering the specific question asked by my noble friend, but perhaps I may say that, in 2017-18, 55,700 EU-domiciled students were given loans by the Student Loans Company; 88% of them were for full-time undergraduates. These students accounted for 5% of all students receiving loans in 2017-18. Obviously, looking to the future with the uncertainties, we are not there yet. I very much take note of what my noble friend has said.