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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 00:20 GMT
Universities get increased funds
Universities will see an overall increase in funding of 6.4%
Universities and colleges in England are finding out how much funding they will get for the next academic year.

Individual institutions will receive a share of 5,854m in total funding - a rise of 5.3% on the current year.

This includes 1,413m for research and 349m to help universities attract students from less advantaged homes.

Money to be made available later this year will take the overall funding to 7,137m (up 6.4%), the Higher Education Funding Council for England announced.

Hefce said the allocation was a "good settlement" for universities, but the University and College Union (UCU) said some institutions would effectively get less.

Hefce said the funding allocation would provide an extra 33,000 full-time student places for 2007-08, as well as 16,000 full-time equivalent places such as foundation degree places and courses co-funded with employers.

The funding body also said a further 23m would be pumped into "very high cost and vulnerable" science subjects.

Later this year, Hefce will allocate further funds to individual institutions, such as an additional 5m for widening participation and 738m for capital grants.

Hefce funds 132 higher education institutions and higher education courses at 143 further education colleges.

The increased funding does not take account of the additional income from "top-up fees" - up to 3,000 a year - introduced in 2006-07.

Last month, figures released by the university admissions service, Ucas, showed the number of students applying to UK universities in 2007 had gone up by 6.4% and the number of students applying to English universities had risen by 7.2% on 2006.

'Good settlement '

The chief executive of Hefce, Professor David Eastwood said: "This is a good settlement for universities and colleges, providing both stability in terms of their forward planning and a healthy rate of growth.

"Applications show that science subjects of strategic importance are growing in popularity again.

lecture notes
The funding allocation takes account of widening participation

"This is particularly encouraging in view of the additional 25m over each of the next three years that we are providing to support these very high cost subjects.

"The additional funded numbers we are providing will add to the diversity of the student population and help to increase participation rates in higher education."

A spokesman for the umbrella group Universities UK said: "The inflation-linked increase in teaching grant and the funding of additional places will help to provide stability in these first phases of variable tuition fees.

"Universities UK is pleased to note the continuing support for the additional costs of widening participation and the new funding stream to support very high cost and vulnerable science subjects.

"We welcome the continued growth in research funding and, in particular, the introduction of a new business research element."

Real terms reduction

But the University and College Union (UCU) said 22 higher education institutions would be hit with a real terms reduction in Hefce funding and many more would have been hit with a reduction if they had not recruited extra students.

UCU joint general secretary Sally Hunt said the overall increase for institutions was to be welcomed but the figures needed to be put in context.

"Around a fifth of institutions will be hit with a real terms cut in Hefce funding, which is just not acceptable.

"Universities that have succeeded in recruiting extra students may have seen their funding increase, but university staff will need far greater resources if they are to really tackle issues such as the student: staff ratio, which is now higher than in our schools."

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