Accidental funding 1

October 24, 2003

I have much sympathy with the Higher Education Funding Council for England's wish to maintain the "cherished principle" that similar courses should receive public funding at similar levels ("Fees market collapses in dash for cash", THES , October 17).

This is clearly right and is unaffected by fees, variable or otherwise, since these are not from public sources. However, this principle cannot easily be "maintained" since it is not practised today.

Manchester University, for example, gets nearly £3 million a year less for teaching than it would if it were funded at standard levels of resource for no reason other than historical accident.

My hope is that the principle of equal public funding for equivalent teaching will, indeed, be put into effect.

Martin Harris
Vice-chancellor
University of Manchester

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