No grant reductions following top-up fees, promises Hefce head

November 11, 2005

Higher education funding chiefs have said they will not cut grants to English universities in the wake of extra income from top-up fees, writes Anthea Lipsett.

Sir Howard Newby, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, was quick to quash concerns that the council would reduce teaching allocations to universities to compensate for the extra money generated when they charge students up to £3,000 a year from 2006.

Sir Howard said: "We will not lower the amount of money we're putting in.

The amount of money put in is still the same whatever the fees are doing. I can promise you hand on heart there's no fiddle going on here."

The issue was raised following Hefce's annual conference last week.

Speaking at the conference, Rama Thirunamachandran, Hefce's research and knowledge transfer director, said that the Government's target of putting 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product into research could not be met without "major growth in research and development intensity".

Sir Howard said: "It's essential that we continue to sustain this country's very high performance in research and that the UK remains an attractive place to industry."

He said that increasing attention would be given to knowledge transfer. "We haven't incentivised the sector sufficiently. It's very high on our agenda."

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