30/01/2007

Cap On Student Numbers In Higher Education Changed

The current Maximum Student Number (MaSN) in full time under graduate places in Higher Education in Northern Ireland will remain unchanged.

The decision was announced today by Maria Eagle, Minister for Employment and Learning following a consultation exercise which began in November 2005.

Commenting on the decision to stay within the current MaSN capping arrangements, Maria Eagle said: "Having considered responses to the consultation document, I have concluded that on the basis of the available evidence, the case in favour of increasing the number of locally available full-time undergraduate places was not compelling.

"However, the level will be kept under review especially in areas of potential economic growth. I recognise the valuable contribution that higher education makes to the Northern Ireland economy, and that the context in which the assessment was made is not static."

The Minister explained that further consideration will be given as research projects are completed and more evidence becomes available, particularly in relation to the demand for higher level skills.

(CD)

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