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Some British universities will either fail or disappear within the next three years. So say vice-chancellors of UK universities in a survey. They are at the same time warned against reliance on income from non-EU students
Deep cuts in funding to British universities have spoilt the good mood of UK vice chancellors.
Asked about the impact of funding and policy changes, 74 per cent of surveyed vice-chancellors (in other countries corresponding to the position of rector) say it is ‘very likely’ or ‘probable’ that institutions will fail or disappear. Their pessimism is revealed in a survey by PA Consult cited in Times Higher Education.
The British university sector faces GBP 1.3 billion in government funding cuts, with possibly deeper cuts to be announced in October.
The survey shows a widening gulf between senior management and staff, with 60 per cent of vice-chancellors affirming their inability to move or change uncompromising staff among their three greatest internal constraints.
Asked about their priorities, the vice-chancellors affirm in the survey that »leading changes in staff culture and working practices« are particularly important.
PA Consulting warns against the British university sector’s reliance on income from non-European Union students, who pay higher fees.
Vice-chancellors say »developing an international presence« is the top priority for responding to funding challenges, and identify »international campuses and partnerships« as the most promising opportunities for the future.
But Paul Woodgates, a higher education specialist at PA Consulting and co-author of the report, says that prioritising overseas income is »fine at the institutional level, but when you add it up and see that all of those institutions view internationalisation as a top priority, there is a question about whether the market is potentially big enough to sustain that«.
Mike Boxall, the report’s other author, asks whether universities have properly analysed the relative costs and benefits from home and overseas students. Overseas students entail higher recruitment and support costs.
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