The impact of funding cuts on HE

24 November 2018

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph about the proposed tuition cuts, the Russell Group says ministers must not only guarantee current funding, but commit to meeting future demand.

Dear Sir,

The Prime Minister’s review into university funding is reportedly considering a drastic cut to tuition fees.

Would the Treasury offer to cover the funding shortfall in full? If not, UK higher education will face a funding crisis.

This could lead to the introduction of limits to student numbers, despite around 300,000 new places being needed by 2030. Support for disadvantaged students will be at risk. 

Some institutions would likely close. Others would have to reduce the range of courses they offer. Higher cost subjects, such as science, technology and engineering, would be threatened even though they are producing the graduates our economy needs.

There would be knock-on consequences for our universities’ ability to produce world-leading research and innovation. Their civic mission would also be on the front line. Many universities are anchor institutions within their local areas, employing thousands of people, driving regeneration, providing free access to libraries and workspaces and supporting cultural services where councils lack resource. Many such activities would no longer be financially viable.

However the debate on tuition fees proceeds, Ministers should, at a minimum, guarantee current levels of funding, with a commitment to meet future demand – so that students, parents and communities across the UK continue to benefit from the contribution universities make to all of our lives.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Chair of the Russell Group and Vice Chancellor of Glasgow University

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group

Policy area

Related case studies