The Association of Scottish Colleges has challenged the Scottish Office announcement of anPounds 8 million boost for further education, warning that colleges face the loss of almost Pounds 1.5 million.
Scottish education minister Brian Wilson, announcing the 1998-99 grants for Scotland's 46 colleges, said the Pounds 237 million gave them Pounds 8 million more to spend than in the previous government's plans.
But the ASC's calculations, which remove three colleges that are not incorporated, show a drop in recurrent grant from Pounds 231 million to under Pounds 230 million, with 15 colleges suffering a cash terms cut in their recurrent grant of 5 per cent or more.
Robert Kay, convener of the ASC's board of directors, said: "This is a very tough settlement for the sector. Most colleges will get less recurrent grant this year than last year, with no reward for growth and no allowance for inflation or pay increases."
There have been intricate changes to the funding formula, making comparisons difficult between this year and next.
The Scottish Office figures also include Pounds 5 million in additional tuition fees for higher education courses, calculated on the basis of four terms.
But the ASC's chief officer, Tom Kelly, said: "We are very wary about assuming that the additional cash will either be collectible in full or chargeable to 1998-99 expenditure. Some of it has to pay for expenditure in the next financial year."
The ASC has welcomed last week's Scottish Office decision to set up a further education funding council.
"The highest priority is to address the problem of acute underfunding of the sector. What we would hope is that thefunding council will be given an opportunity to tackle funding in a much more transparent and open way, and have a much moreconstructive and continuing dialogue with the sector," Mr Kelly said.
Options for change should be fully debated and colleges given a budget timetable which enabled them to plan with confidence.
Scottish FE allocations 1998/99
Grant in aid plus extra Bursary
tuition fee receipts allocation
Aberdeen College 13,335,000 3,367,000
Angus College 3,657,400 1,249,000
Anniesland College 4,773,700 518,000
Ayr College 4,946,500 955,000
Banff & Buchan College of FE 3,484,200 1,022,000
The Barony College 1,086,500 134,000
Bell College of Technology 4,705,400 (i) 0
Borders College 3,916,200 893,000
Cambuslaug College 4,018,400 488,000
Cardonald College 6,842,500 1,676,000
Central College of Commerce 4,971,300 510,000
Clackmannam College of FE 2,341,300 609,000
Clydebank College 6,362,500 1,294,000
Coatbridge College 3,821,300 867,000
Cumbernauld College 3,048,800 548,000
Dumfries and Galloway College 4,644,000 1,256,000
Dundee College 9,325,900 2,354,000
Elmwood College 2,892,600 468,000
Falkirk College of Technology 7,668,000 1,591,000
Fife College of F & HE 6,614,800 908,000
Glasgow College of Building and Printing 6,338,100 675,000
Glasgow College of Food Technology 3,219,900 613,000
Glasgow College of Nautical Studies 3,940,000 559,000
Glenrothes College 5,145,300 855,000
Inverness College 5,434,300 1,525,000
James Watt College of F & HE 10,342,800 1,615,000
Jewel and Esk Valley College 6,987,400 957,000
John Wheatley College 3,504,700 341,000
Kilmarnock College 5,561,000 1,538,000
Langside College 6,156,400 935,000
Lauder College 5,352,200 1,043,000
Lews Castle College 1,864,500 370,000
Moray College 4,429,100 1,405,000
Motherwell College 8,026,400 1,851,000
North Glasgow College 5,129,900 802,000
Oatridge Agricultural College 1,698,000 241,000
Perth College 5,223,100 1,3,000
Reid Kerr College 7,899,800 1,423,000
Stevenson College 11,159,000 1,351,000
Stow College 4,638,900 774,000
Edinburgh's Telford College 13,549,800 1,960,000
Thurso College 2,430,800 434,000
West Lothian College 4,187,900 753,000
Orkney College 600,000 (ii) 0
Shetland College 1,322,400 (ii) 0
Sahhal Mor Ostaig 400,000 (iii)0
TOTAL 236,998,000 44,000,000
(i) No FE activity - all HE(ii) Islands Councils have bursary responsibilitiesJ(iii) Not an incorporated FE college