Welsh get cash in return for more students

January 1, 1999

Colleges and universities will be key beneficiaries of an expanded Pounds 7.8 billion Welsh Office budget, detailed figures show. But the sectors will be expected to take on 36,000 more students.

The Welsh Office will spend Pounds 844 million on education and training in the principality, rising to more than Pounds 1 billion over three years, Welsh Office minister Alun Michael told Parliament at the end of last month.

Wales's 17 higher education providers will receive Pounds 322 million in 1999-2000 - a 5.1 per cent rise. This will increase by 8.3 per cent in 2000-01 and by 6.6 per cent to Pounds 371 million in 2001-02.

At the heart of the spending announcement are plans to raise the number of medical students to address a doctor shortage. Over three years, the higher education sector is expected to take on about 8,000 students, or 5,000 full-time equivalents.

Schools will get the lion's share, but colleges are the main beneficiaries in post-compulsory education. Further education gets an 11.8 per cent rise in funding for 1999-2000 to Pounds 197 million, followed by a 7 per cent increase the next two years, to Pounds 226 million in 2001-02. The settlement will mean the first real-terms rise in funding for four years.

The college cash comes in return for enrolling 7,000 more full-time equivalent students by 2001-02, estimated at 28,000 new learners, mostly part-timers.

The money, said Welsh Funding Council chief executive John Andrews, will be a "shot in the arm" to colleges, which have faced "very serious cuts" under the last government.

Training and enterprise councils will receive Pounds 141 million in 1999-2000, rising by 6.4 per cent to Pounds 150 million in 2001-02.

* Five out of nine Welsh higher education institutions did not win funds to widen participation from the Welsh Higher Education Funding Council for 1998-99.

The reasons for failing were lack of "commitment to widening access" or of a good record.

Glamorgan; University of Wales, Aberystwyth; the University of Wales College, Newport; and the North East Wales Institute will share the Pounds 500,000 cash.

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