The University of Ulster is tackling the increasing demand for student places in Northern Ireland with a Pounds 200 million investment programme.
Vice-chancellor Gerry Mc-Kenna said the next move was up to the government, which has long capped the number of
student places in the province.
The developments, which include much-vaunted projects such as the Springvale "peace line campus", in conjunction with the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, are designed to boost UU's standing as a regional university.
But there was embarrassment for the new Department of Further and Higher Education as the details were announced. An activist community group said government efforts to force through Springvale would "disenfranchise" local representatives on a planned education village council.
Edward Cooke, panel secretary of the Greater Shankhill Community Council, said:
"Springvale campus is a flawed scheme that in normal circumstances would not obtain planning approval because of the total loss of amenity to the existing population."
Professor McKenna said the capping of student places had resulted in a significant brain drain from the province. Undergraduates have to study away from home "and the reality is that many of them do not come back".