The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has called for a single funding body for further and higher education in Scotland.
In its evidence to the Dearing committee, SHEFC says further education colleges are increasingly major providers of higher education, particularly through part-time courses. It argues that students' and employers' needs are hampered by organisational differences between the two sectors. The colleges are funded directly by the Scottish Office while higher education institutions are funded by SHEFC.
Students should be able to progress from further education entry level to diploma and degree courses, it says, warning that individuals would face difficulties if further education were kept isolated from higher education.
But SHEFC acknowledges that it would be inappropriate simply to add to existing organisations such as itself without considering the role of a tertiary funding council as a body in its own right.