£11.6 million annual EU support under threat due to Brexit.
Further & Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville has warned of the negative impact that the loss of EU funding could have for Scotland’s colleges.
The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) estimate that, in academic year 2015-16 alone, £11.6 million of European funding was made available to the college sector – supporting up-skilling, the development of young people's employability skills, and student support.
The publication by the First Minister last week of Scotland’s Place in Europe set out the wide-ranging benefits EU membership brings for the Scottish further and higher education sectors. This includes backing for world-class research and development, and access to top talent – both teaching staff and students.
Building on this, Ms Somerville has highlighted the specific financial risks that departing the EU could have for the delivery of further education. She said:
“EU funding has long been intertwined with the very fabric of how our colleges are funded . These vital European funds help deliver high quality college courses that benefit students, the economy and wider society.
“EU support has also significantly contributed to the modernisation of our college estates, providing the state-of-the art facilities learners need to reach their potential.
“In 2015/16 alone, EU funding was estimated to be worth £11.6 million to Scotland’s colleges. Together with funding from the SFC, this supported around 4,200 full-time equivalent college places.
“The loss of EU funding would deal a serious blow to our colleges and pose challenges to their ability to maintain the level of activity they currently deliver. This further emphasises why we must do all we can to safeguard Scotland’s interests and maintain our strong economic and educational ties with the rest of Europe.”
Scotland’s Place in Europe sets out proposals to keep Scotland in the European Single Market, retain freedom of movement, and equip the Scottish Parliament with the powers it needs to serve Scotland's interests post-Brexit: gov.scot/ScotlandinEurope