Scottish teaching grant is decimated

Scottish universities will have their teaching grant cut by about 10 per cent next year, following a decision to reduce funding while maintaining student numbers.

December 21, 2010

The ramifications of the decision announced by the Scottish National Party government in last month’s Budget are made clear in the grant letter published today by the Scottish Funding Council.

It says that university funding will total £956 million in 2011-12, of which £609 million will go to teaching, £69 million less than in 2010-11.

This represents a 10.2 per cent reduction in the teaching grant in contrast with a flat-cash settlement for research, which the SNP has chosen to protect.

Colleges will also see their teaching funding decline by about 10 per cent, down £47.3 million to £423.7 million.

The cuts to teaching come a day after the coalition government in Westminster revealed that the teaching grant for English universities will fall by 6 per cent next year, when cuts will start to bite before additional income from higher fees kicks in.

The SFC said today that capital funding for Scottish universities would also decline significantly – by 38 per cent to £16.1 million.

In addition, money for widening-participation activities and to support part-time provision has been “refocused”, with some universities getting more and others less.

Mark Batho, chief executive of the SFC, said: “Students will have the same opportunity to apply for a place at college or university for 2011-12 because existing student numbers are being maintained…We have worked hard to turn round the outcome of the draft budget quickly, working with the sectors to give them an early indication of their funding and more time to plan and prioritise.”

Mary Senior, an official at the University and College Union Scotland, said the cut in teaching funding “will particularly impact on the quality of the education our students receive”.

She added: “It is ludicrous to suggest an already stretched sector can do more for less. The time has come to look at better and fairer ways to fund our universities.”

john.gill@tsleducation.com

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