Funding allocations: Extra money provides welcome boost

March 7, 2003

The funding allocations mean that many universities will be better off in 2003-04 than in previous years.

There is an average 2.2 per cent funding rise in real terms, after taking into account the expansion in student numbers. Some 113 institutions will get a funding boost in real terms, while just 19 will see their grants fall.

The research elite has prospered. Oxford and Cambridge universities and University College London and Imperial College London will see their funding council grants rise by at least 5.3 per cent in real terms.

Smaller university colleges have also done well, with their teaching grants boosted by the increase in widening participation funds. Liverpool Hope University College - which will get £1.6 million for attracting per cent of its students from neighbourhoods underrepresented in higher education - will receive a 5 per cent increase overall.

Edge Hill University College - which will get a £1.4 million boost for attracting 25 per cent of students from these postcode areas - will receive a 4 per cent increase.

But excellence at widening participation in new universities does not appear to translate directly into a better-than-average funding boost - due in part to the cuts in lower-rated research.

Sunderland University tops the league table of English universities for widening participation, taking 29 per cent of its students from underrepresented neighbourhoods against a benchmark of 15 per cent. But the 43 per cent cut to its research grant next year will mean that its overall grant rises by just 1 per cent in real terms.

At Wolverhampton University, where 24 per cent of students come from underrepresented neighbourhoods, the research grant will be cut by 22 per cent, taking its overall grant up just 2.6 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, with real-terms funding cuts, are institutions that have not distinguished themselves enough at research or at widening participation.

As a mostly postgraduate institution, Cranfield University does not receive much for widening participation. Moreover, 89 per cent of its researchers work in departments rated 4 in the research assessment exercise, while 11 per cent were rated 3b. Its grant will be cut by 5.3 per cent in real terms, despite that fact that it will receive a £3 million handout.

Some 16 per cent of its income comes from the funding council.

Hull University is facing a 1 per cent real-terms cut after taking into account student numbers. Its record at widening participation is middling, and 37 per cent of its researchers work in departments rated 4 and 28 per cent in departments rated 3a.

While Bradford University's record at widening participation is better, 51 per cent of its researchers work in departments rated 4. It is facing a 0.8 per cent cut.

About £14 million will be spent on minimising the cuts. It will be shared between institutions facing real-terms cuts - including St George's Hospital Medical School and the Open University - and others such as the universities of Loughborough, Leicester, Liverpool and Surrey.

• The 2003-04 English funding allocations tables are available in the Statistics section of the website. Click here to view.

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