21 October 2010
Now that the Government has announced the outcome of its Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) we are beginning to get some indication of the level of the cut to public funding of higher education in England.
While we have yet to see the detail the CSR does appear to include a significant cut in University funding as was suggested in a wide range of news media over the last few weeks.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) web site says of the CSR:
"This means the overall resource budget for Higher Education, excluding research funding, will reduce from £7.1 billion to £4.2 billion, a 40%, or £2.9 billion, reduction by 2014-15. The Department will continue to fund teaching for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) subjects.
The Government will, by 2014-15, establish a new £150m National Scholarship Fund to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds."
Most sectors facing extensive cuts in public funding announced in the CSR will have no way of replacing that funding and will have no option other than to significantly reduce their range of operations. However Lord Browne's recent review of higher education funding could provide our sector with a way to replace the funding we will lose. We will watch closely how Lord Browne's recommendations are debated, considered and implemented, or otherwise, by Parliament and Government. The phasing of both cuts to funding and any implementation of Lord Browne's review will also be crucial.
We now await not just any decisions on Lord Browne’s review, but much more detail on how any cuts and organisational changes following from the CSR will be implemented. The University will of course carefully consider the implications of all these changes and challenges and what we need to do to meet those challenges.
Professor Nigel Thrift