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Increased funding of £100m announced for Higher Education


Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett yesterday announced increased funding for higher education in England worth at least £100 million next year.

The new funding, which is on top of the £295 million already announced for next year, will help universities to recruit and retain top-quality academic staff and to widen access to students from a broader range of social backgrounds. Mr Blunkett also announced new resources for rewarding good teaching in sixth form and further education colleges.

Mr Blunkett said:

"For the first time in over a decade, this settlement offers a real terms increase in funding per student in higher education. The tough decisions we took on student finance are now bearing fruit. Next year higher education institutions will have an extra £50 million to recruit and retain top-quality academic staff in an increasingly competitive global market for people and ideas. As a part of this I will be looking for improvements in staff management.

"I am also announcing today £20 million to allow universities to widen access through links with schools and colleges to attract able students from a broader range of backgrounds. This is on top of the £10 million we are already providing next year for bursaries of up to £1000 for young students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The new funding will pay for summer schools at leading universities for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, better links between academics and teachers, recruitment officers, outreach work and improvements to admissions programmes.

"We will be working with Peter Lampl and the Sutton Trust and others to deliver a substantial programme for change. I am very pleased to welcome Peter Lampl as an adviser to the Higher Education Funding Council. He will report regularly to me on progress."

Mr Blunkett added:

"This welcome settlement will contribute to the innovative e-universities project which will bring degree courses to students at the touch of a button. It will also fund the first Foundation Degree prototypes, providing a vocational ladder between schools and HE.

"Universities will also benefit substantially from increased Government funding for the science base - a rise in total of 5.8% in real terms in 2001-02 over 2000-01. Over the next three years this will substantially increase resources for research from the Department for Trade and Industry, in particular into genomics, e-science and basic technology, and will allow an increase in stipends for postgraduate researchers in science to £9,000 by 2003-04. From 2002-03 there will also be the new £1 billion Science Research Investment Fund for infrastructure - a partnership between Government and the Wellcome Trust - which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers and I announced on 5 July.

"We are also ensuring that the support for research through the Higher Education Funding Council is at least maintained in real terms and that stipends for postgraduate students in arts and humanities are raised in line with those for science. All this emphasises this Government’s commitment to invest in research in universities and elsewhere.

" Universities’ ability to make the most of that research through business partnerships and commercial exploitation will be reinforced by additional funding which DTI is adding to the DfEE’s existing support of interactions between universities and industry. This is expected to roughly triple the size of the Higher Education Reach Out to Business and the Community (HEROBC) fund by 2003-04.

"I am also announcing today substantial extra support for further education, on the basis of increased participation and further improvements in standards. This will increase significantly what is already an unprecedented level of Government investment.

"To reward those working in FE, I am making additional sums available on a something-for-something basis, as we have outlined for the schools sector, to recruit and retain high calibre staff. The additional £50 million I am announcing today for 2001-02 will help colleges ensure high quality teaching and learning is properly rewarded, with early emphasis on recruitment and retention in sixth-form colleges.

"From next April, FE and other parts of post-16 provision will be funded by the Learning and Skills Council, subject to final Parliamentary approval. We shall announce the first grant settlement for the LSC in the autumn."


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