According to the Guardian, Morrisons is planning to fund 1,000 students onto a retail studies degree. They already have 20 students a year on BSc Business and management at the University of Bradford, although there is a link on their recruitment site currently telling me that no vacancies are available on this programme.
The funding level in the Guardian story - £4,000 per head - makes no sense to me as a full-fee level even for a Foundation Degree. However Bradford had a significant award from HEFCE's co-funded employer engagement programme and the project website lists the previous Morrisons programme as one of their success stories. HEFCE would be allocating about £1,500 per Price Group D co-funded FTE in business. I don't have the details to hand, but 2011-12 is likely to be their last opportunity to fill places funded through this route, so a knock-down price might be better than giving the grant money back to HEFCE. If the places are filled in 2011/12, then HEFCE funding will continue to flow for the next few years under the planned transitional arrangements. It is therefore possibke that Morrisons managed to get this outstanding deal because Bradford were under time pressure to reach any kind of deal at all.
So rather than the shape of things to come, I think we may be seeing the last gasp of the previous Government's policy approach playing out here.