COLLEGES this week heard how much cash they would be getting for helping to improve access to higher education.
Further education has been told it will have pound;17.7 million to spend over the next year on increasing the number of participants in HE.
The amount available to colleges and universities for attracting and retaining students from difficult-to-reach groups has increased to pound;265m from pound;48m last year.
The 170 FE colleges benefiting from Higher Education Funding Council for England grants will receive pound;134.9m overall.
Sir Howard Newby, chief executive of the HEFCE, said: "We have provided institutions with funding for widening participation which recognises the extra costs of supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds.
"This will increase the likelihood that they will complete their courses successfully.
"The numbers of HE students in FE colleges has grown and that is likely to increase further.
"The bulk of the students we aim to attract will want to go to their local institutions, which means in most cases their local FE college rather than a university."
The HEFCE will distribute pound;5.4 billion to colleges and universities in 2003-4, an increase of 7.6 per cent.