Universities warn fee crisis could mean home student cuts

Universities across the United Kingdom could soon be forced to cut the number of UK students they take, increase class sizes and axe staff, vice-chancellors warn. They are calling on the government to intervene to stave off a crisis, as the real value of tuition fees plummets, writes Anna Fazackerley for The Guardian.

The prestigious Russell Group of universities says institutions are making a loss of £1,750 (US$2,100) a year teaching each home student because tuition fees have remained almost static for 10 years and have not kept pace with inflation. On average, universities will be losing £4,000 a year on every UK undergraduate by 2024, the group says. Experts say some may end up pulling out of teaching UK students, focusing entirely on international students and postgraduates.

The government raised the cap on tuition fees to £9,000 a year in 2012 and it has been fixed at £9,250 (US$11,100) since 2017. Ministers are widely assumed to be determined to avoid any discussion of this politically toxic issue in the run-up to the next general election, and have already confirmed that fees will remain frozen until at least the 2024-25 academic year. But university heads say the current funding system is “just not working”, and the government must think about how to support them adequately, either by offering additional funding for teaching or by overhauling how higher education is paid for.
Full report on The Guardian site