Some universities may close as a result of political and financial change in the sector, suggests a survey of senior university leaders. This is from the BBC…
The study by a management consulting firm predicts further cuts in public funding to universities.
Some 60 senior university leaders from across the UK responded to the survey, around a third of the total.
“It is clear that we are witnessing a sea-change in the dynamics of higher education”, said co-author Mike Boxall.
Declining government grants, limits on undergraduate numbers, higher student fees and cuts to research funding have resulted in a dramatic shift in priorities for university leaders, argues the report by PA Consulting.
The authors detect signs of a switch among university leaders away from “their historical obsession with outlook for government policy and funding”.
Instead the focus is increasingly “the competitive battle for fee-paying students”, with a “new imperative” to offer “attractive and rewarding learning experiences”, including better student access to academic staff.
The report notes that the past year has seen a “marked softening and increased discrimination” in demand for higher education from school-leavers in response to higher fees and patchy graduate employment prospects.
Demographic changes and visa restrictions on international students also limit the pool of would-be students.
Some 58% of the university leaders surveyed said they were worried by falling demand for undergraduate courses from UK and EU-based students.
Some 90% expressed concerns over declining numbers of postgraduate students from the UK and EU, with more than 80% worried by falling international numbers.
Are you worried by this or are there now too many institutions offering mediocre courses that are of little value to students when judged against the cost of attending? Please share in the comments below, on Twitter or by using this form