Inflation busting boost for Scotland

December 8, 2000

Core funding for Scotland's higher education institutions will rise next year by 3.5 per cent, 1 per cent higher than the government's inflation assumption.

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has announced the rise, following a letter of guidance from Wendy Alexander, Scotland's minister for enterprise and lifelong learning.

Scotland won an extra 500 full-time equivalent student places last year, but Shefc is now set to fund at least 1,000 extra places in 2001-02, with another 400 in each of the two subsequent years.

Many of the extra places will go to students from under-represented groups, who will attract a 5 per cent funding premium. Shefc says the boost to the unit of teaching resource will help institutions meet the extra costs of supporting these students for each year of study. Ms Alexander urged a permanent adjustment in Shefc's core funding formula to reward institutions who attracted and retained students from under-represented groups.

Shefc plans to embed current support for managing commercialisation into a new core funding stream. It will also use formula funding for next year's £10 million strategy to upgrade science research buildings and equipment.

  •  Bernard King, principal of the University of Abertay, Dundee, has condemned a private sector access scheme saying it is "missing the point".

The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced a £1.7 million scheme for summer schools for disadvantaged students in five traditional Scottish universities.

Professor King said Scotland needed a highly educated workforce produced by a mass higher education system. This would not be achieved by helping "rich and exclusive institutions to cream off a few of the very brightest state school pupils".

Professor King said the real challenge was to raise children's aspirations long before they were about to consider summer schools.

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