The funding model under which public money is allocated to English universities for teaching is to be reviewed.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England has advertised for tenders to undertake the review, which will be carried out over the summer. Its conclusions will be available to members of the council in the autumn. If they conclude that the model is not fulfilling the council's objectives of promoting efficiency and maintaining diversity, they would then have the option of setting up a wider-ranging exercise to build a new model.
Council officials emphasise that the review is routine.
Bahram Bekhradnia, director of policy for HEFCE, said: "We said when the funding model was introduced that we would review how it was working after two or three years. We want to see if it is achieving the objectives we set out for it, and whether it is leading to any effects that we have not anticipated or planned."
He said that the review was mainly housekeeping: "We already tweak the parameters each year. This is simply a matter of asking an outside group to come and look at the impact the model is having."
* HEFCE agreed at last week's council meeting to sanction 62 of 70 estate project funding bids based on the Follett report on library provision. The council will provide Pounds 45.5 million over the years 1995/96 to 1997/98 towards projects creating 25,000 reader spaces. Institutions will have to find the rest of the Pounds 177 million cost from their own resources and private finance.
* The council also set up two Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) centres. The CTI centre for Nursing and Midwifery will be at Sheffield University. The Centre for Built Environment will be at the University of Wales College of Cardiff. Chosen from 54 applicants, the two take the number of CTI centres to 23.