A group of universities have warned that a tuition fee freeze will increase pressure on education funding.
The Russell Group, which represents 24 UK universities, has estimated that due to increased student demand and rising costs alongside the tuition fee freeze until 2024/25, the average shortfall per UK undergraduate education will more than double from £1,750 in 2021/22 to around £4,000 in 2024/25, with shortfalls across all subjects.
It calls on the government to work with the sector to develop a new funding formula from 2024/2025.
Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, said: “We understand the challenges the government faces in balancing public finances, so we welcome the recent investments in high cost subjects and capital funding.
If left unresolved in the long term, it will inevitably affect the range and quality of courses that can be offered to students.
“However, with tuition fees frozen for another two years and rising costs and demand from students, pressure on education funding will increase.
“Universities will continue to work hard and find ways to reduce this pressure so that they can provide the best possible student experience, but if left unchecked in the long term, this will inevitably affect the range and quality of courses that can be offered. offered to students at a higher level. when we need a range of high-level skills to drive a sustainable recovery.
“Over the next two years, industry and government will have the opportunity to come together and consider a new funding formula that will protect this skills pipeline and high-quality education for the benefit of students and the economy. and British society at large. ”
The group added that a previous announcement of a £300 million investment over three years in the Strategic Priorities Grant (SPG) as well as the continuation of the capital budget had been welcomed by the sector, but warned that funding per student would decrease “significantly”. ” by 2024-25 unless action is taken.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: ‘This government is investing nearly £900million over the next three years to support high quality teaching and world-class facilities at our universities, focusing on stem, medical and degree learnings that deliver real benefits for students and the economy.
“We are advancing the biggest post-18 education reforms in a decade, including the introduction of the Lifetime Loan entitlement which, from 2025, learners will be able to use on more flexible higher education courses and modular so that they can be trained, perfected or retrained during their lifetime. We want to see universities take this as an opportunity to adapt and redesign the type of offer they offer to support these ambitions.