Colleges will see their funding from the Scottish government increase by more than 9 per cent in a year, the Scottish Funding Council has announced.
The SFC, which funds further and higher education institutions in Scotland, said today colleges will receive £712 million in 2021-22, which represented an uplift of more than £60 million from last year.
Colleges will also be funded to help regional employers get the skills they need and to help people reskill for future employment, including an additional £10 million to support delivery of the Young Person’s Guarantee, said the SFC.
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Background: Scottish colleges overspend by £54m
The funding council announced a £16.2 million package for work-based apprenticeship programmes. This, they say, will fund 1,370 graduate apprenticeship places at universities and 3,160 foundation apprenticeships at colleges for senior phase school pupils – a step towards the target of 5,000 FA opportunities in academic year 2021-22, through colleges, local authorities and independent training providers.
Overall, today’s SFC announcement for colleges and universities represents the highest annual allocation of teaching and research funding ever made by the Scottish Funding Council.
Last week, a blog from Scotland's auditor general revealed Scotland’s colleges spent £54 million beyond their overall income in 2019-20.
Stephen Boyle said the gap between income and expenditure had grown and was forecast to continue growing, as a result of costs "outwith the sector's immediate control", such as pensions and depreciation of assets.
The auditor general said that a significant number of colleges needed increased funding, cost-cutting – or both – to deliver balanced budgets in the future.
Further and higher education minister, Jamie Hepburn, said: “In my new role I look forward to working closely with the Scottish Funding Council. Colleges and universities are key strategic assets not only in the fight against the pandemic but in our economic and social recovery which is why, for financial year 2021-22, the Scottish government has increased funding to both the college and university sectors.”
SFC chief executive Karen Watt said: “This investment in Scotland’s colleges and universities is vital for our pipeline of skilled and educated talent for the future, widens access to opportunities, protects world-leading research and plays a leading role in securing sustainable economic prosperity and a vibrant society.”