Reporter 459, 20 November 2000

£1bn rise for sector

Higher education in England is to receive a 10 percent increase in real terms over the next three years, Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett announced last week. Funding goes up by £412m in 2001-2, £268m in 2002-3 and £298m the following year.

The cumulative increase of £1bn within three years will bring the sector’s total budget to £6.4bn by 2003-4. Part of the extra funding is £150m specifically for schemes to increase student enrolment from low-income families.

Next year’s spending plan represents the first real rise in funding per student since the 1980s. It is intended to underpin the expansion of graduate numbers from the present 43 percent of 30-year-olds towards a 50 percent target for 2004.

The new Learning and Skills Council, which from next April integrates post-16 education outside the university sector, has also been promised a nine percent increase, taking its annual budget to £5 bn.

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