§ Jeff Ennis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of introducing a maintenance grant of(a) £1,000 per annum, (b) £1,500 per annum and (c) £2,000 per annum for higher education students from households in the lowest (i) quartile and (ii) decile of annual income. 
§ Margaret Hodge
The estimated costs of providing maintenance grants of(a) £1,000 per annum, (b) £1,500 per annum and (c) £2,000 per annum to students in the lowest (i) quartile and (ii) decile of annual income in 2001–02 are presented in the following table.344W
operation up to 1997–98, students received a full means-tested maintenance grant if their residual income was below the threshold. The threshold is reviewed and uprated annually.
The following table shows the numbers of students entitled to full support (as outlined above) under each scheme for the academic years 1996–97 to 2000–01 and the relevant residual income thresholds in each year.
1 Residual income is gross income less the allowances detailed in my Department's guidance, "Financial Support for Higher Education Students".
Estimated costs of maintenance grants in academic year 2001–02 £ million Residual income Level of grant Lowest quartile Lowest decile £1,000 200 80 £1,500 300 120 £2,000 390 160
Figures have been individually rounded
These estimates are based on projected student numbers for English and Welsh domiciled students in UK Higher Education Institutions in 2001–02. As numbers increase so would the cost of providing grants to a fixed percentage. The figures in the table assume that all students either the lowest 25 per cent. or 345W 10 per cent. qualify for the full amount of the grant and that those above these levels get no grant. In practice, means tested grants are almost always tapered out more gently above the threshold for entitlement of the full grant. This increases the costs.