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Sussex could face £2m cuts

The University of Sussex is facing an estimated £1.9 million budget cut following the Government’s annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), published on 20 December 2010 and setting out a reduction of around 6 percent for universities in Sussex in 2011-12.

However, the University of Sussex stated that: “It is incorrect to say already that there has been a cut of £1.9 million to the University of Sussex’s budget” and pointed out that individual institutions do not find out their grant allocation from HEFCE until the end of March 2011.

But calculations have estimated that a 6 percent budget cut will indeed be in the region of £1.9 million. The scheme is also expected to impact on other local universities, including Chichester and Brighton, with calculations indicating that Brighton may lose up to £2.9 million.

Vice-Chancellors have also been forced to implement pay freezes and encourage services to be shared among neighbouring universities, with the aim of achieving a 6 percent efficiency gain from April.

The proposals have provoked criticism from Universities UK, a Vice-Chancellor umbrella body, who suggested that in real terms, the cut in funding will actually amount to an 8 percent drop.

Meanwhile, the University of Sussex has claimed that it is “well-prepared after removing £5 million from the university’s annual costs following the implementation of the Proposal for Change in 2010. Sussex’s financial plans already assume a 25 percent cut in income from government grants over the next four years.”

The Students’ Union remains committed to lobbying the university for additional support for students in the form of scholarships, bursaries and affordable university-managed accommodation following the rise in tuition fees and will encourage university management to do whatever possible to offset the Government’s regressive new policies. They have also promised to coordinate action opposing government cuts in the current term.

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