Russell Group response to OfS confirmation of funding reforms

21 July 2021

In response to the confirmation from the Office for Students (OfS) of changes to how it will distribute funding to universities and colleges for 2021-22, a Russell Group spokesperson said:

“The decision to increase government funding for skilled specialist subjects like medicine, science, technology and engineering, which have been underfunded for many years, is a positive step. However, it is disappointing those gains are at the cost of other subjects such as creative arts and London-weighting where universities face higher costs and there are some of the country’s most deprived areas.

“Even with these increases, the Office for Students’ own analysis shows that the funding it provides to universities per full-time equivalent student will fall by almost 20% in the three years to 2021-22 once increasing student numbers are taken into account. The impact of this on universities is compounded by the erosion of tuition fee income by inflation. It is inevitable that this will have an impact on choice and quality in UK Higher Education.

“Given the importance of high-level skills to the nation as it recovers from the pandemic and looks to build on its research and innovation strengths for future economic growth, we would urge Government to consider an ambitious and sustainable approach to funding high-quality university teaching in all subjects as it prepares for the comprehensive spending review this autumn.”


  • The OfS outcomes of consultation document estimates the reduction in OfS funding per full-time equivalent student (FTE) between 2018-19 and 2021-22 to be 19.3 per cent in real terms (p7).
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