UK: Third of universities in England could close

More than a third of England's universities may be forced to close or merge as a result of swingeing public cuts to higher education, an analysis by the lecturers' trade union has found, writes Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian.

The University and College Union (UCU) examined the finances of the 130 universities and specialist colleges in England in light of government plans to cut funding for teaching degrees by 80%. Only a few 'priority' courses, for instance in maths and sciences, would still receive public money.

The UCU scored each institution according to how reliant it is on public funds, the proportion of money it stands to lose, its reliance on students from outside the European Union - an important source of income - and the number of students from disadvantaged homes that it admits. Based on these four factors, the union found 49 institutions (38%) were at 'very high', 'high' or 'high-medium' risk from the planned cuts. It said in the worst cases, they would be forced to close.
Full report on The Guardian site