Scotland's 47 further education colleges have won an 8 per cent increase on last year's funding for teaching and bursaries.
This is the first settlement under the Scottish Further Education Funding Council's new, transparent funding model. Colleges have long complained about the government funding system, which rewarded them retrospectively and opaquely. The SFEFC, instructed by the Scottish Executive to reform the funding method, believes it has come up with a more stable and predictable system, which will help forward planning.
Government funding was previously announced in February, taking effect in April, but the SFEFC has aligned its allocations with the academic year, with its April announcement taking effect in August.
It has axed the curious "grossing up" system whereby fee income was pooled and redistributed, effectively meaning that the lower a college's income, the higher its grant.
The SFEFC's Pounds 325 million allocation allows for 5.2 per cent growth, alongside the annual 1 per cent efficiency gain. Colleges will win a premium of about Pounds 22 for each new student, recognising the costs in attracting and registering them, while there will be an extra Pounds 45 for each entrant from the most socially deprived areas.
Under the SFEFC's new system, not all colleges will win extra funding in the coming year. But the SFEFC has ensured that the 14 colleges facing a cut have a safety net of a 2 per cent cash increase. This transitional support totals Pounds 7 million, Pounds 3 million of which has been clawed back from colleges whose cash increase amounted to 6.5 per cent and above.
The biggest winner is James Watt College, with a 29 per cent increase, but much of this stems from Pounds 2 million for a new campus. The Barony College has an increase of almost 25 per cent, while Aberdeen, Angus and Banff and Buchan Colleges all have increases of more than 16 per cent.