Northern Ireland

700 extra student places for Northern Ireland

Queen's University Belfast
Image caption More than 300 of the extra places are to be at Queen's University Belfast

An extra 700 undergraduate places will be made available in Northern Ireland by 2015, Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry has announced.

All the places will be in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

There will be 233 new places in 2012-13 and 467 in 2013-14.

The University of Ulster will have 322 additional places, Queen's University 308 and other further education providers 70.

The Department of Employment and Learning, as part of the executive's strategy on higher education funding and tuition fees, will receive £1m in 2012-13 and £2m in 2013-14 to increase student places.

"This investment will help to address the anticipated rising demand for local places from Northern Ireland students as a consequence of the freezing of tuition fees in line with inflation," Mr Farry said.

"Higher education delivered through further education is an important aspect of our overall provision and the allocation of places will ensure that extra capacity is also made available to our further education colleges."

Mr Farry said he would try to provide more than 700 extra places by 2015 and would lobby for more, if the demand was higher.

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