Public grants to Scottish higher education will grow by a fifth over the next three years, it was revealed this week. The main state grant-in-aid to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council will rise from Pounds 528 million in 1998-99 to Pounds 640 million in 2001-02, a 21 per cent increase. Over the same period total funding, including estimated fee income, will rise from Pounds 708 million to Pounds 783 million, a 9.5 per cent rise. Ronald Crawford, secretary of the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, said that the settlement will keep the sector's efficiency gain below the maximum 1 per cent per year recommended by Dearing. He said that funding for 1999 onwards would have to be approved by the new Scottish Parliament.