Further education provision could be sacrificed in order to pay for more college degree work, say senior staff at Norwich City College.
Colleges need core funding for higher education work, say the staff at Norwich, one of the leading further education providers of higher education. The Dearing Inquiry may recommend that more higher education be taught in colleges.
Chandresh Somalni, finance director at Norwich, said that the college was already subsidising its higher education provision out of further education, even though the college is one of the few which receives core funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Around a quarter of Norwich's 7,500 full-time equivalent students are on higher education courses.
Alan Coupe, who lectures at Norwich in environmental biology and life sciences at degree level and who is vice chairman of Natfhe's national further education committee, fears that colleges' fundamental further education missions could be undermined by pursuing higher education without cash.
Mr Coupe said: "There could be great dangers if there is no proposed funding for higher education in further education. Some colleges going down the road of higher education could find that they are expanding provision at the expense of further education. We could see academic drift at the expense of FE students."