South Scotland

Saved Dumfries campus 'worth £300m-a-year'

Crichton campus
Image caption The University of Glasgow stopped undergraduate admissions in 2007

A "saved" university campus in southern Scotland can contribute more than £300m-a-year to the economy, according to the Scottish government.

The Crichton site in Dumfries faced an uncertain future three years ago when the University of Glasgow stopped undergraduate admissions.

The move was reversed thanks to £1.5m from the Scottish Funding Council.

Education secretary Mike Russell said the campus had a "crucial role" to play in the economy of south west Scotland.

He is in Dumfries to deliver the keynote speech at the conference, The Crichton Campus - The Next Decade 2010-2020.

The facility is Scotland's first multi-institutional campus, providing a base for the University of the West of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College as well as the University of Glasgow.

It faced the possibility of closure in February 2007 when the Glasgow institution announced that it had decided not to admit any new undergraduate students, citing an annual deficit of more than £800,000.

The Scottish government intervened with extra resources via the SFC.

Mr Russell said the development could now boost economic activity in Dumfries and Galloway by about £311m a year.

It caters for about 1,000 higher education students, along with approximately 7,500 college learners.

'Excellent example'

As well as its main campus in Dumfries, the Crichton also has a second campus 75 miles away at Stranraer and a smaller centre in Newton Stewart.

Mr Russell said: "The Crichton campus stands for many things. It stands for having a vision, holding on to it and, through drive, determination and effective collaboration, making it happen."

He said that was why the funding had been provided in 2007.

"Its continued success is an excellent example of what, with collaboration and a wealth of imaginative thinking, can be achieved to meet the learning needs of people in rural areas," he said.

"The importance of enabling local people to develop their skills and careers without having to leave the area cannot be overestimated."

He added that the lessons from Dumfries could be shared across Scotland to "open access to higher education ever further".

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