February 12, 2003

Floud warns MPs funding crisis will continue
Funding per university student is set to fall over the next few years, despite the government's promise to pump billions of extra pounds into the higher education sector, MPs were told today. Roderick Floud, president of Universities UK, gave a clear indication to the Commons education select committee that universities will press to be allowed to charge fees even higher than the projected £3,000 maximum within a decade. Professor Floud acknowledged that last month's white paper did promise some "substantial increases" in funding. But once money for special initiatives and building projects were stripped out there was only a small increase in the amount left for teaching. He told the committee: "Our prediction before 2006 is that we estimate a slight decrease in funding per student." The gap between what universities needed and what the government was providing would have to be filled by delaying refurbishment of classrooms, laboratories and libraries "yet further".

£1bn research fund shared out today
More than £1 billion from the Science Research Investment Fund is being shared out among universities and tertiary education institutions today for the years 2004 to 2006.

Scots HE and FE councils merge
The Scottish Higher and Further Education Council merge as part of a new strategy for lifelong learning announced yesterday by the Scottish Executive. Individual Learning Accounts will also be relaunched, and education maintenance allowances extended across the country to support 40,000 young people to stay on at school or college.

Minister opens Birmingham engineering school
Birmingham University's new school of engineering is due to be officially opened by science minister Lord Sainsbury today. He will also open the research centre for micro-engineering and nanotechnology and the centre for formulation engineering at the school.

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