The Ministry of Finance said it gave almost Dh300 million in additional funding to federal universities over the last academic year so they could accept all eligible Emiratis who apply.
The money was also to be used to upgrade the institutions as they brace for a budget freeze next year.
The increase of Dh277m raised the budget for the 2009-2010 year to Dh2.6 billion. The ministry said the money helped 33,896 students in medical, theoretical and preparatory fields.
The increase came after a 2008 ministerial resolution to implement a formula that bases the amount given to a university on the number of students it has in each major.
The federal government will freeze the spending of federal universities, according to a budget released last week at the Federal National Council.
The UAE University's budget was frozen at Dh1.3 billion, Zayed University's at Dh321m, and the budget of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) at Dh735m.
At an FNC session last month, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and chancellor of HCT, said universities' budgets were inadequate, preventing them from admitting more students or conducting research.