Universities with poor records at attracting students from state schools will receive extra cash next year despite strong opposition from more inclusive institutions, it was confirmed this week.
Twice as many institutions opposed the plan to give extra money to the more exclusive universities as supported it, according to a funding council consultation on widening participation.
The proposal was announced by higher education minister Baroness Blackstone in February.
"Institutions were mainly concerned that those who had a good track record in widening participation activity were not being rewarded for their efforts, while institutions who were perceived as poor at widening participation were being given extra resources," funding chiefs conceded in their response to the consultation.
An extra £6 million a year will go to universities where less than 80 per cent of students come from state schools and colleges, funding chiefs confirmed. Those institutions with the worst records will get the lion's share of the money.
Some 30 English institutions will be eligible for the funding, which must be spent on outreach work to raise the aspirations of pupils in mostly inner-city areas.
To access the cash, institutions must "provide evidence that they will contribute an element of funding from their own resources from 2002-03" and "confirm that the funded activities will be embedded and continue when funding is scheduled to cease after 2003-04", according to guidance from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The funds represent about an extra £200,000 a year to the average eligible institution.