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Bail out plea

Colleges could be heading for an overspend of as much as pound;20 million by the end of the academic year because of the surge in student numbers. This was claimed last week by John Burt, principal of Angus College, at a conference in Glasgow on vocational education. The figure is based on a projected pound;450,000 overspend by his own college, which is of average size, on student childcare support, bursaries and hardship benefits. The Scottish Funding Council has already ploughed in an extra pound;10m to help defray these costs, and it launched a consultation last Friday to get firmer evidence of how much additional pressure college budgets are under.

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