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George Osborne says universities free to increase places by 30,000

18 December 2013 - 10:58am

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that universities and colleges in England can make an extra 30,000 places available to students in 2014 to 2015.

In the following academic year, a cap on student numbers will be abolished entirely, Mr Osborne told MPs on 5 December in his autumn statement.

‘Access to higher education is a basic tenet of economic success in the global race,’ the chancellor said.

CSP assistant director Sally Gosling said: 'While this doesn't affect how numbers are set for healthcare programmes through current student commissioning and workforce planning arrangements, it could affect how higher education institutions view such programmes within their overall provision and plans for strategic development.'

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, welcomed the expansion of student numbers and said that having more graduates is good for the economy, as well as developing a strong society and improving the lives of individuals.

Ms Dandridge voiced doubts, however, over whether the initiative would be sustainable in the long term.

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