Bahram Bekhradnia's speaks of the remarkable achievement of doubling the age-participation rate in higher education "funded entirely at public expense" (THES, September 15). Unfortunately it was not; a large part was not funded at all. From 1989/90 to 1994/95 student numbers increased by 61 per cent while funding per student fell in real terms by 25 per cent. This reduction was paid for by students, by loss of small group teaching, overcrowded laboratories and libraries with fewer books, and by a poorer educational experience; also by university staff who had to work much harder for less money.
JOHN KINGMAN University of Bristol