Part of the role of an MP is to represent their constituents' concerns in Parliament. A case that has recently struck me is that of Louis Leir who wishes to undertake an MPharm degree following the closure of Pfizers. Currently though that degree will cost £10,000 per year. Today in Business Questions I asked the Universities Minister David Willetts whether he would consider changing the level that MPharm is set at to reduce this fee.
If he will consider changing the MPharm qualification from level 6 to level 7.
The Government do not determine the academic levels of higher education qualifications. The Higher Education Funding Council funds the MPharm as an undergraduate master's degree, to the benefit of 10,000 students a year who are entitled to teaching grants and student support.
I thank the Minister for that answer. My constituent Louis Leir has done an undergraduate degree and wants to do a MPharm, but unfortunately it is classified as an undergraduate-level degree. He is therefore caught by the equivalent or lower qualifications —ELQ—policy and is unable to get help with tuition fees. Will Ministers give further considerations to the issues relating to master's level qualifications? The MPharm truly is one of those, as most of the House probably recognises.
I congratulate my hon. Friend on his ingenuity in pursuing that constituency case, about which we have corresponded. Just as he was with the Pfizer case at Sandwich, he is a persistent hon. Member and I congratulate him on that. However, we believe that if we were to take the ingenious approach he proposes, it might mean that the 10,000 undergraduates currently benefiting from financial support lose it.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
Many of my appearances in the House of Commons are now on Youtube. Please click the link to watch the footage.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring my office on 01304 379669 if you need to get in touch.