Scottish universities face smaller deficit than expected

COVID-19 will see universities facing less of a deficit than previously feared as the number of international students coming to Scotland has increased year-on-year, the higher education minister has said, writes Conor Matchett for The Scotsman.

Richard Lochhead, speaking at the Education and Skills Committee in Holyrood, said the figures represented a “more encouraging” picture compared to earlier in the year. He told members of the Scottish parliament that the predicted financial deficit for universities had reduced from an estimated worst-case scenario of £651 million (US$864 million) to a deficit of £191 million, while further education colleges have seen their deficit drop from £12 million to £9 million.

Several universities including the University of Edinburgh were facing potential compulsory redundancy schemes at their institutions, with Edinburgh warning it faced a financial black-hole which required savings of up to £150 million. Lochhead told the committee that a more positive outlook in terms of the number of international students coming to study in Scotland meant the situation was not as dire as predicted in May. He said there was an overall increase of 3% in the number of international students accepting places in Scotland, another record year, but urged caution and said universities would not be certain until further into the academic year.
Full report on The Scotsman site