Scottish councils' Pounds 616m masterplan to boost wider access

March 24, 2000

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is beefing up institutions' role in promoting social inclusion and the knowledge economy through its

Pounds 616 million of allocations for

the coming academic year.

Scotland's 18 HE institutions will have Pounds 416 million for teaching, Pounds 133 million for research and Pounds 23 million for strategic development. Core funding for teaching and research will increase by only 1.5 per cent, but Shefc's total funding is a 2.8 per cent cash increase, a real-terms rise of 0.3 per cent. This will underpin a significant boost in support for wider access and technology transfer.

Scotland already has a participation rate of almost 50 per cent in higher education courses, and Shefc wants institutions to focus on under-represented groups. It has earmarked Pounds 2 million for 500 extra full-time equivalent places, aimed at bringing in more part-time undergraduates.

It is increasing its fee-waiver scheme for low-income and unemployed part-time students by a third to Pounds 800,000. Its wider access initiative budget will rise by 10 per cent to Pounds 2.2 million.

Shefc tolerates 2 per cent student over-recruitment, but will increase this to 3 per cent for the coming session. Institutions may face a surge in applicants as the Scottish Executive is axeing tuition fee contributions from this autumn and this year's entrants will not be liable for a graduate endowment payment.

Shefc's research development grant, to build up centres of excellence, will grow by 20 per cent to Pounds 12 million. It has also committed more than Pounds 3 million to commercialising research.

Letters, page 15 Full details at www.thesis.co.uk

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