Scotland's universities are to receive an extra £10 million this coming financial year on top of their budget settlement, the Scottish Government has announced.
There was widespread dismay in the higher education sector north of the border last year when Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, announced that universities would see their budgets rise by £30 million over the coming three years - £138 million short of what was asked for. But she promised the sector that it would be the priority should any money become available.
Announcing the extra money this week, Ms Hyslop said: "Universities are at the heart of our drive to build a smarter, more prosperous Scotland. That's why, even though we are facing an extremely tight financial settlement, I have worked hard to source extra resources for Scotland's universities.
"I know the pressure that universities are under. Resources are tight. I made a commitment to find more money if I could, and today I am delivering on that. Ten million pounds will make a difference to universities, lecturers and students across the country."
A spokesman for Universities Scotland, the umbrella group for vice-chancellors, said: "Since the announcement of the Scottish budget, Universities Scotland has had helpful discussions with the Secretary for Education about the cost pressures on universities in 2008-09.
"We were pleased to be assured that the universities were at the top of the priority list for any additional funding that became available, and we are very encouraged that Fiona Hyslop has already found an additional £10 million.
"The additional allocation will make a valuable contribution to meeting the funding gap."