But a new fund for colleges, or one that would form part of a new properly invested public sector scheme, is unlikely to materialise for at least two years.
Colleges have welcomed her agreement to defer reforms to the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme and to meet in full the cost of deals already agreed between management and staff.
The date at which employers' contributions will be changed is moved from April to July 1, reopening prospects for fresh deals as part of college reorganisation packages this spring.
John Brennan, policy director for the Association of Colleges, welcomed the moves but said Mrs Shephard had "wriggled out of immediate difficulties by agreeing to pay for existing deals from the TSS". Any new fund must have prominent employer involvement.