The University of Ulster has been allocated 322 additional full-time undergraduate places under proposals announced today by Employment & Learning Minister Stephen Farry. The places will be allocated to programmes delivered at the Magee campus.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard Barnett, said:
'I welcome the Minister's allocation of additional undergraduate places to the University, and will allocate them all to our Magee campus in line with our long-standing commitment to expansion there.
"However, we remain disappointed that the number of additional places are so few, given the strength of the case we have made for a substantial increase in student numbers at Magee in line with the One Plan agreed for the city.
"We remain committed to the One Plan, and will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to press the case for Magee expansion.
"As part of that process, and demonstrating our confidence in and commitment to the city and campus, the University will today exercise its option to buy the Foyle & Londonderry College lands that we require if major growth at Magee is to take place."
Notes for Editors
The text of Minister Farry's statement is given below:
Farry announces significant increase in higher education student places
Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, today announced the largest increase in undergraduate student places since 2000 with an additional 700 undergraduate places being made available in Northern Ireland by 2015.
There will be 233 places in 2012-13, 467 places in 2013-14 and the full 700 places by 2014-15.
The Minister said: "This increase, which will start next year, is great news for all those young people who want to access higher education in Northern Ireland. All the additional places will be in economically relevant Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects which will ensure that we are delivering the right skills to support the rebalancing and growth of our local economy.”
The Department, as part of the Executive’s decision on higher education funding and tuition fees, will receive £1million in 2013-13, £2million in 2013-14 and £3million by 2015 to increase student places and the announcement today represents the additional places created, along with extra places generated by removing Great Britain students from the Maximum Student Number calculation.
Minister Farry indicated that he will continue to assess future student flows and demand for places and would press the Executive for further funding should the need for more undergraduate places be justified.
The Minister continued: “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. 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.
“These additional places will be made available to the University of Ulster, Queen's University and also to local further education colleges that deliver higher education courses.
“Higher education delivered through further education is an important aspect of our overall provision and the allocation of places will ensure that extra capacity is also made available to our further education colleges.”
The University of Ulster will have 322 additional places, Queen’s University 308 additional places and the further education providers 70 additional places.
The universities and the further education colleges will determine the deployment of the additional places across subject areas and campuses.