Growing concern over higher education spending proposal
The grant of The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will experience a cut of 13 percent this year.
This is because the government will be allocating £5.86 billion to all universities in 2012-13 compared to £6.71 billion in 2011-12.
The block grant for teaching is also to be cut by 18 percent to £3.82 billion in 2012-13, then to £2.88 billion the following year.
The proposed cuts were laid out in a letter by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) by Vince Cable.
Despite the cuts to the overall grant for science and research, spending is to remain at 2011 levels.
These figures concering the reduced grant do not include student loans for tuition fees.
The grant for fee loans will rise to £9.46 billion in 2012-13 from £9.31 billion this year, despite student numbers falling by 5000.
The implementation of the AAB+ student number scheme has made estimates of student numbers for the coming year uncertain.
Some organisations have estimated that universities will be coerced to cut 15,000 places each.
A correspondent of thwe University of Sussex said that the effect of the cuts to places and funds at this university is difficult to determine until the HEFCE release individual spending plans for universities on the 22 March.
The university experienced a cut of 3.6 percent to their 2011/2012 budget, prompting the Sussex Students’ Union to write to the National Union of Students (NUS) requesting another national demonstration.
They stated: “The increase of tuition fees to £9000, the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and the severe cuts to the HEFCE budget are only the beginning of this government’s plan to radically change the landscape of education.
“We, as a union of students, vehemently oppose it.”
The 1994 group (of which Professor Michael Farthing, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, is chairman and national spokesman) has released a statement to the HEFCE regarding the BIS proposals.
He said: “As today’s dismal economic figures have shown, we need to create more opportunities for people to study and develop high-level skills.
“The uncertainty over undergraduate numbers and funding for postgraduate teaching and research is causing major problems for UK Higher Education.
“The Government has to offer reassurance that talented students will not be denied places at excellent universities.”
The University and College Union (UCU) have expressed similar concerns.
The general secretary stated: “Our universities are globally-renowned, yet the government’s plans put that proud standing at risk.
“For all the talk of empowering students under a new market system, they will ultimately have less choice as fewer courses will be on offer.”