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University funding for poor students may be targeted

Where and when will the axe fall? asks Alison Goddard.

The Student Opportunities Fund, which provides £346 million a year to universities that recruit and retain students from the poorest households, could be targeted in the £450 million of in-year cuts that are due to be made to the budget of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The BBC reports the attempt by Pam Tatlow of Million+, which represents those universities that get most of this money, to defend the funding stream. The department has yet to reach any decisions on how the savings will be made and has yet to instruct the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which will be asked to deliver them. Hopes for an early resolution expressed last week now seem premature.

Pressure is increasing on the Westminster government to allow the reintroduction of a post-study work visa in Scotland. Immigration is not a devolved matter, but the Smith Commission recommended that the two sides should explore the possibility of allowing international graduates to remain in Scotland. We report support for the post-study work visa emanating from the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, the Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde and the West of Scotland.

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