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Cash screw tightens on unattached colleges

Colleges of education have again suffered worst in next year's allocations from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. Northern College's grant is reduced by 6.1 per cent, while Moray House loses 5.3 per cent. St Andrew's College, the third independent institution, has a 0.8 per cent cut.

The figures announced yesterday (Thursday) will increase pressure for amalgamations. Moray House is in detailed negotiations with Edinburgh University, and St Andrew's College aims to become an institute of education within Glasgow University. The funding council has earmarked Pounds 11 million to "support strategic change" but emphasises that initiatives have to come from institutions: the council is not itself pushing for mergers.

Lack of a research base has hit the colleges. Following the recent national research assessment exercise, neither Northern College nor St Andrew's receives a penny towards research, while Moray House gets Pounds 477,000. Other small "monotechs" institutions such as Edinburgh College of Art also fare badly in the council's allocations.

The overall rise to the 21 recipients is 2 per cent, which matches inflation. The largest rises go to Dundee University (up 8.5 per cent) and St Andrews University (7.4 per cent).

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