The education secretary has said reports of a monetary crisis amongst universities are “scaremongering” as speculation hooked up a cut in training prices.
Damian Hinds said “hyperbolic warnings” had been misrepresenting the scenario going through establishments, maximum of that have healthy stability sheets.
“The economic sustainability of our universities is without a doubt crucial to the group of workers and students of those institutions, in addition to the neighborhood economies and groups they serve,” he said.
“But with the large majority of universities in an excellent financial function, hyperbolic warnings from a few on universities’ finances are distorting the overall photo.”
Hinds said pupil numbers at UK universities and tuition fee income had accelerated because of the monetary crash, even as most sectors had been forced to reduce their expenditure.
“I do understand universities are facing some challenges. However, reports of financial trouble across the entire sector are scaremongering,” he stated.
His intervention follows reports that a assessment of training expenses released by using Theresa May ultimate 12 months ought to propose a reduction from a most of £nine,250 to £7,500 a 12 months, with many college students racking up money owed of more than £ sixty-five,000 plus hobby for a four-12 months route.
The Department for Education would not comment on whether any decrease in expenses would be accompanied via a upward thrust in the amount of imperative government subsidy. There were warnings that a failure to provide this would harm college students and even push numerous universities into bankruptcy.
Alistair Jarvis, the leader of the government of Universities UK, advised FE News that any reduction to costs have to be made up in complete through the government if research changed into to be safeguarded, warning it might in any other case cause “bigger magnificence sizes, poorer facilities, labs and libraries, a worsening pupil enjoy, process cuts and much less cash to assist get right of entry to and retention.”
He added: “It may want to harm studies, lessen the number of relatively-skilled personnel that commercial enterprise desires and damage our worldwide competitiveness.
“If Theresa May’s assessment of publish-18 training recommends a cut in training prices, the funding gap must be made up incomplete by way of a central authority coaching supply. Funding reduction for universities might be a political desire which harms college students, the financial system and communities that advantage from universities.”
The BBC has stated the overview is expected to record back a subsequent week, and any potential lack of college charge income may want to be replaced through direct funding from the government.
In reaction to “substantial rumours that the evaluate will propose a price cut to £7,500 across all subjects”, the National Union of Students said the capacity adjustments – if pressured via without a substitute subsidy – could push universities to the factor of crumble.
“The government has been lobbying to introduce differential expenses for an undergraduate degree based on the issue that you take,” said Amatey Doku, the NUS vice-president, for better training.
“This isn’t about trying to rebalance investment between higher and in addition education, reflecting anticipated graduate salaries, or reflecting the real fees of courses to train. This is only about negative our area by means of wrenching open a marketplace, taking money out of training and pushing universities to the factor of disintegrate.”
Paul Cottrell, the acting wellknown secretary of the University and College Union, said: “It isn’t scaremongering to factor out the massive sums of money universities could lose if the authorities back a reduction in costs and does now not plug the space. The high minister called the investment evaluation due to the fact the current gadget changed into so politically toxic.
“However, we’ve got seen not anything that shows the review is calling on the kind of radical alternatives that could make life simpler for college students and assure funding for our colleges and universities.”
Last yr, Sir Michael Barber, the chair of the Office for Students, warned universities that had been no longer financially sustainable would now not be bailed out.