The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
, more commonly known as the Scottish Funding Council
(SFC), is the body in Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
that distributes funding from the Scottish Government to the country's colleges and universities. It was set up by the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005
, and was established on 3 October 2005 when the Scottish Further Education Funding Council
and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council
Role of the SFC
The Council’s main role is to distribute funding to colleges and universities in Scotland. In 2009-10, the Council allocated about £1.7 billion for the support of learning and teaching, research and other activities.
The Council also:
- provides advice to Scottish Ministers on the needs of the further and higher education sectors and on other policy and funding issues that are relevant to further education (FE) and higher education (HE);
- works with the sectors to develop coherent strategies in support of Ministerial priorities and ensure that there is coherent provision of high quality FE and HE;
- has a statutory duty to ensure that the quality of FE and HE in colleges and universities is assessed and enhanced;
- monitors the financial health of the colleges and universities;
- supports management and governance in colleges and universities by providing guidance and disseminating good practice on many issues;
- facilitates and supports desirable strategic change in the sectors;
- establishes targets and indicators of performance, and gathers evidence and data to monitor progress; and
- is responsible for developing policies to promote sustainable development.
SFC is a non-departmental public body
In the United Kingdom, a non-departmental public body —often referred to as a quango—is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to certain types of public bodies...
(NDPB) of the Scottish Government. That status allows the Council to act at ‘arms length’ from Government and, in doing so, to:
- provide impartial advice to the Scottish Ministers; and
- involve colleges and universities in the development of the Council’s policies and funding methods through participation on its committees, advisory groups and working groups.
The Scottish Government is responsible for providing strategic guidance to the Council.
The Council's funding contributes towards the costs of learning and teaching, skills development, research, innovation and other costs such as staff, buildings and equipment in Scotland's 15 universities and five higher education institutions(collectively known as the university sector) and 43 further education (FE) colleges. The Council also provides resources to enable colleges to offer bursaries to students on non-advanced courses.
The Council provides resources to FE colleges to support learners on FE programmes, in accordance with policies determined by the Scottish Government. Student support funding for learners on HE programmes (Higher National Certificate and above) is provided by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland
The Student Awards Agency for Scotland is an Executive agency of the Scottish Government. It pays the tuition fees of eligible Scottish higher education students, bursaries and supplementary grants. It also assesses students applying for loans...
The Council works closely with many stakeholder bodies to ensure that its strategies and the policies of the Scottish Government are delivered effectively. These bodies include Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise is a sponsored non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government which encourages economic development, enterprise, innovation and investment in business...
, the Scotland's Colleges, Universities Scotland
Universities Scotland was formed in 1992 as the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals adopting its current name in 2000, when Universities UK was also formed. It represents 14 Universities and six other higher education institutions in Scotland. The Convener serves a two-year term of...
, NUS Scotland, the Scottish Trades Union Congress
The Scottish Trades Union Congress is the co-ordinating body of trade unions, and local Trades Councils, in Scotland. With 39 affiliated unions as of 2007, the STUC represents around 630,000 trade unionists....
(STUC), the other UK funding bodies.