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NI universities to get more STEM-student places

Stephen Farry, the Northern Ireland employment and learning minister, has announced 700 extra undergraduate places for NI institutions by 2015 in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A government statement said it was the largest increase in student numbers in Northern Ireland since 2000.

The Department of Employment and Learning will be allocated £1 million in 2012-13, £2m in 2013-14 and £3m by 2015 to increase student numbers

The University of Ulster will have 322 additional places, Queen’s University 308 and further education providers that teach higher-education courses 70.

Availability of student places will be further boosted by removing Great Britain students from the calculations of maximum student numbers.

“I am confident that at least 700 additional places will be delivered by 2015 and we will work with our higher education providers to, where possible, exceed this figure,” said Farry in a statement.

“This investment will help to address the anticipated rising demand for local places from Northern Ireland students as a consequence of the freezing of tuition fees in line with inflation,” he added.