Scottish universities are to follow the conditions described in a new budget deal created to plug the gap between istitutions in Scotland and England. In case the universities fail to observe the conditions for widening students' access and improving performance, they could face financial panalies.
Meanwhile the 10.9% cut in teaching grants that was introduced in 2010 will be preserved for the next two academic years. In research, extra investments are expected for students from Scotland's remote communities.
At the end of the day, 19 highere education institutions in Scotland woll receive £1.02bn of funding. Approximately 1,500 extra places will appear for students in the Highlands and Islands. The figures were released in an indicative grant letter by Scottish Funding Council. It denied that the deal will cause the biggest degree of state control in the university sector ever seen.
Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council: "This is a something for something deal. This is not just a closing of the gap. It is an investment by the Scottish government."
Accroding to Michael Russell, the Scottish education secretary, this "generous" funding package was created to conform with the plans for post-16 education. Then he added that "universities will work with us to take forward these reforms, for example, through improving the learner journey, widening access and enhancing collaboration with industry."
The deal was approved and welcomed by university officials who claimed that the described conditions were to be anticipated under the existing economic climate.
A spokeswoman for the umbrella group Universities Scotland said:"It will be a different way of working but we don't see it as a massive interference or a whole new level of accountability.We see this as a reasonable thing in the circumstances. We have done well in terms of the spending allocation."