The Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong intends to keep its self-financing status if it is upgraded to become a university. But students have been promised they would not have to foot the bill for research. The issue was raised at a consultation session to gauge the views of students and staff over the plan to become a university. Director Professor Tam Sheung-wai said the institute would receive no general subsidy from the Government after the first three years but it would receive some funding for infrastructure. 'We are going to stay a self-financing organisation but the Government would still provide us with funding for infrastructure and research developments,' he said. The Government has allocated $6 million for research projects and paid half the $300 million cost of the new campus in Ho Man Tin. The institute could also apply for research grants independent of general funding offered by the University Grants Council. 'We would have independent funding for research and won't rely on students to develop our research work,' Professor Tam said. The institute was officially recommended in May for higher status by the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation. It is now waiting for the endorsement of the Executive Council. Students at last week's consultation urged the institute to speed up the process of upgrading to university status. They expressed concern that the proposal might not win the approval of the provisional legislature after the handover. There was also debate over the future English and Chinese names for the institute. The original suggestion was the Open University of Hong Kong but some students and staff wanted it to be called the Open Learning University of Hong Kong. Dr Tam said students' views would be taken into account.