The government will contribute to tuition fees for students at private higher education institutions for at least another year.
But the subsidy will continue to be only a third of that given to students in the public sector, despite calls for equal funding, and the private colleges fear that it could soon be withdrawn.
Degree students at private colleges (eg Buckingham University) pay about Pounds 7,000 a year in tuition fees while students in the public sector pay Pounds 1,000.
The government tops up these figures with about Pounds 1,000 for students at private colleges and about Pounds 3,000 for students in the public sector.
The Council for Independent Research Colleges and Research Institutions has long argued that its members should receive the same subsidies as public sector colleges and universities.
The DfEE is planning to review all its student support arrangements starting next year, according to a spokesperson.