UK: Student support may be targeted in huge cutback

Student grants and subsidised loans may bear the brunt of the £600 million (US$968 million) cuts announced for the academy in the government's pre-budget report, sources within the sector predict, writes Melanie Newman for Times Higher Education.

The cuts, announced the week before last by Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be implemented over two years from 2011 to 2013, and will come from "changes to student support within existing arrangements; efficiency savings and prioritisation across universities, science and research; some switching of modes of study in higher education; and reductions in budgets that do not support student participation".

David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister, said decisions about how the cuts will be distributed would not be made until after the review of higher education funding and student finance being conducted by Lord Browne of Madingley has reported. But one senior sector source, speaking anonymously, said the report was a "clear steer" to Lord Browne that the cost of higher education should shift from the Treasury to students and graduates. "The gossip is that most of the £600 million could be found from the student-support budget," he said.
Full report on the Times Higher Education site