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Support for Crichton and South of Scotland

20/08/2007

Additional financial support is to be proved for Crichton Campus in Dumfries following the publication of a new Academic Strategy by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

The support will be targeted at:

  • undergraduate liberal arts provision allowing the intake of students to re-commence from academic year 2008/09.
  • the expansion of initial teacher education in the South of Scotland to meet current and future local needs
  • the infrastructure costs of the campus allowing the Universities of Glasgow and Paisley to concentrate fully on providing high quality higher education at Crichton

Glasgow University had previously announced that its Court had decided not to admit any new undergraduate students to the Crichton Campus in 2007 citing an annual deficit of over £800,000.

Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

"Since coming to office I have been keen that government supports the work being carried out to explore options for ensuring effective and sustainable higher education provision at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.

"I have been clear that such provision needs to be fully aligned with the Crichton University Campus Academic Strategy which has been published today by the Scottish Funding Council.

"The vision and aims of the Strategy have our support. That's why today, alongside its publication, I am announcing these additional measures from the Scottish government to support the partners in implementing the Strategy's actions.

"Our announcement, which the Scottish Funding Council and the academic partners will now take forward, is great news for everyone connected with the campus, especially students from the region who wish to study and remain in Dumfries and Galloway after graduation.

"Our support provides an important impetus in helping to get the Strategy off the ground. I am excited by the prospect of new opportunities at undergraduate and post-graduate level being developed in areas such as teaching, health provision, environmental studies, tourism and energy.

"This is a huge step forward in providing the skills which are essential if the economy of the South of Scotland is to flourish.

"I now call on the local partners, including the Crichton Development Company, to help the Universities of Glasgow and Paisley and Dumfries and Galloway College sustain efficient and continued presence at the campus for the long term."

Amongst the new opportunities at undergraduate and post-graduate level to be developed at Crichton will be:

  • health provision, enabling the campus to meet more of the needs of the health sector in its area
  • environmental studies, building on a priority area for Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway and the unique opportunity created by the plans to establish the Carbon Centre
  • tourism and energy, sectors identified as being important to the regional economy
  • articulation, maximising the advantage created by the relocation of Dumfries and Galloway College

Crichton University Campus was established in 1999 as a partnership between the Universities of Glasgow and Paisley and Bell College to provide higher education for those in rural south west Scotland who would otherwise be unable to access it.

The SFC supported the early development at Crichton with strategic change grants of £2.3 million towards infrastructure costs and more recently is providing £21.7 million to support the relocation of Dumfries & Galloway College and £5.5 million to improve HE facilities at the Campus.

SFC also supported higher education provision in the area by allocating a total of 150 additional funded student places, split between Glasgow (88) and Paisley (62).

There are just over 1,000 students studying at the Campus, around 40 per cent of which are part-time. The level of study ranges from Certificate of Higher Education (equivalent to the first year of a degree) to Doctoral study. Courses offered include liberal arts and humanities, initial teacher education, business and computing, environmental studies, tourism and heritage, social work, health and social studies and nursing.