Funding formula fails to offer fair rewards 3

March 12, 2009

Your otherwise informative coverage of the grant allocations was marred by the exclusion of further education colleges from the analysis.

Your table of gainers and losers, for example, should have included Newcastle College, whose direct grant from Hefce was more than your £10 million threshold, and whose increase of 9.8 per cent put it among the major "winners". Blackburn College's increase of 18.9 per cent took it to just below your £10 million threshold. My own institution's allocation for widening participation, based on success in recruiting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, was higher than that for 21 large universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

Six further education colleges have direct Hefce teaching grant allocations of more than £5 million, putting them ahead of 18 of the higher education institutions included in your table purporting to show the allocations "in full".

The important contribution of further education institutions to higher education is often overlooked, by either being buried within the allocations for universities indirectly funding them, or by ignoring the direct allocations. It is high time that was changed and colleges given due recognition for their successful role in delivering higher education.

Mike Milne-Picken University Centre registrar Bradford College.

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