NEARLY pound;50 million is being invested in a scheme to increase participation in higher education among traditionally excluded groups.
The money is being used under Partnerships for Progression - a joint initiative between the Learning and Skills Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The two funding bodies will contribute pound;23m each into a central pool and have agreed the money should be used flexibly to reach potential students - whether through FE or HE institutions.
The money will be divided up between the nine English regions, with local LSCs playing a central role in assessing bids by learning providers, including colleges.
John Harwood, chief executive of the LSC, said: "At the moment the universities take a high proportion from the level 3 (A-level equivalent) cohort and there is a danger that we are over-fishing a small pool. We want to expand the pool and are looking for bids which will achieve that."