Page last updated at 00:08 GMT, Friday, 28 August 2009 01:08 UK

University bid in new funds plea

UHI sign
UHI has been working towards achieving full university status

The prospective university of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has said it cannot meet higher demand for student places because of a lack of funding.

The institution was responding to the results of a youth migration survey.

Almost half the respondents said opportunities to study further education and for training were poor.

UHI, which has been working towards gaining full university status, said it could not satisfy demand on current levels of funding.

The survey was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and investigated the reasons why young people chose to leave, move to, or stay in the region.

UHI is ready to be the engine for the economic, social and cultural transformation of the Highlands and Islands
James Fraser
UHI principal designate

Among its findings was that almost half the total sample said they felt access to education and training opportunities was poor.

There was also a perception of a lack of well-paid jobs.

James Fraser, UHI principal designate, welcomed the research, but also expressed the institution's desire to meet the aspirations of young people.

He said: "The stark reality is since our allocation of funded students was fixed in 2003-4, we have increased our student numbers by around 25% - without a proportionate increase in funding.

"This lack of additional funding for students means we are now in the position where we will have to severely limit further growth against an increasing demand."

Earlier this month, the first degrees and qualifications from UHI that no longer required validation by the Open University were awarded.

UHI was given taught degree awarding powers last August.

Inverness economist Tony Mackay has criticised the time it was taking for the institution to secure full university status.

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