Shetland College is to get £1,985,000 of funding from the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) this year, it was announced yesterday.
This comes as part of an annual funding package from the Scottish government which is worth a total of £690 million to Scotland’s 43 colleges.
The funding includes £83.9m which has been specifically allocated for student support, including a £5m increase for student bursaries. This will be targeted to colleges in greatest need, and brings the total increase for bursaries to more than £11m in three years. In addition fee waiver accounts for £57.3m.
The additional money for student support should benefit Scottish college students by helping them access and remain in courses, according to the SFC.
Head of Shetland College George Smith said of the funding, which effectively forms the college’s annual revenue budget: “We are getting slightly more money from the funding council but that may be offset by increased costs, so we are in a fairly neutral position. But the increase in terms of student support and bursaries is absolutely great and should make it easier to enter into further education courses.”
As well as directly helping students, the money will provide funds for teaching and strategic projects and the modernisation and maintenance of college buildings.
However the greatest proportion of the annual funding, £402.7m, will be going to support core teaching activities.
The award to Shetland College, even though a “neutral” amount, can be seen as good news against a background of tight university funding.
Meanwhile the college’s aspiration for a campus-style development is progressing. Mr Smith said that capital funding for the project is now in place and it is hoped to appoint a design team over the next few months.
The development would enable all colleges activities, some of which, such as hospitality, take place at the Bruce Hostel, to be housed on one campus.