GuildHE expresses its concern over the continuing containment of student numbers and sharper than expected cuts to the coming year’s higher education funding, confirmed in this week’s letter to all higher education institutions from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Commenting on the consequences of the further cuts announced, Alice Hynes CEO of GuildHE said,
“Institutions have already made considerable efforts to plan for reduced intakes and less funding. But HEFCE’s announcement leaves very few areas of operation untouched by this sharpening pressure on resources. These are tough choices for HEFCE, even harder for the colleges and universities, but the hardest of all for the many people whose hopes have been raised, but who will miss out on a life-time opportunity this summer.
It is important to see more clearly the connection, evidenced in the stimulus injected by Governments elsewhere, that continuing investment in Higher Education will bring to the economic recovery. By protecting the teaching revenue, HEFCE has helped smooth a transition to more straightened times, a fair choice given last year’s move of capital funding but this still leaves many project on hold perhaps indefinitely. This package will push UK higher education delivery even further backwards when contrasted with other OECD members.
HEFCE continues to place far too much emphasis on STEM subjects and even within that scope it needs to be providing for a breadth of subjects that feed into the new industries and new technologies. Such concentration covers only half the picture described in the Government’s framework for higher education set out last year in Higher Ambitions. Care must be taken to provide a sustainable base for the significant contribution made to the UK economy and society by education in arts, humanities and social sciences. Otherwise we will lose yet another area of international success.”
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Notes to editors
1. GuildHE is a recognised representative organisation within the higher education sector.