Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

HE in FE Growth a Bit Too Marginal, Cable Admits

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

HE in FE Growth a Bit Too Marginal, Cable Admits

Article excerpt

The expansion of higher education provision in further education colleges has not happened as quickly as the government had hoped, Vince Cable has admitted.

Speaking on 21 November at the Association of Colleges' annual conference in Birmingham, the business secretary said that such growth "has happened" but "it hasn't happened as fast and radically as I'd hoped".

Universities had withdrawn places they had previously offered through colleges in order to protect their own student numbers, he acknowledged.

Expanding the amount of higher education delivered in colleges in England was one of the aims of the 2011 higher education White Paper, which argued that this would increase competition and diversity in the system.

This academic year, 20,000 undergraduate places - the "margin" created by top-slicing universities' previous allocation of places - have been distributed to institutions charging less than Pounds 7,500 a year. Just over half of the margin places have been given to colleges.

But earlier this year, the government announced that the margin would be reduced to just 5,000 places in 2013-14.

Mr Cable told delegates that the government was "looking afresh at the funding arrangements for core-margin to try to move that (the expansion of higher education in colleges) faster". …

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