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Friday, 17 December, 1999, 00:03 GMT
Universities want an extra 5bn

teesside library Universities say their financial health is poor

University chiefs have told the government they need an extra 425m to meet ministers' targets of taking on 700,000 more students.

And that is just a fraction of the extra money they say they will need over the next three years to remain competitive internationally.

High quality teaching demands high calibre staff and facilities
Professor Howard Newby
In its detailed submission to the government's spending review for next year, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of UK Universities calls for more than 5bn in additional funding.

The CVCP report, Investing in HE for Global Success, is a UK-wide analysis of the investment it believes is needed to sustain the sector's financial health in the 21st century.

The universities accept that the government has invested more in higher education over the last two years, but say their financial health is poor.

Next year the operating shortfall is predicted to be around 250m, with 30% of institutions running at a deficit. The amount they can borrow is limited by their inability to repay the money.

The extra millions said to be required are:

Key areas:
Core funding per student 1,375m
Expansion of student places 425m
Research infrastructure 900m
Teaching infrastructure 500m
Promoting links with industry 450m
Implementing the Bett Report:
Equal pay and modernisation 675m
Recruitment and retention 530m
Management development and training 195m
TOTAL 5.05bn

So they want more money for "widening participation" - the drive to recruit undergraduates whose social backgrounds mean they would not traditionally have gone into higher education.

And they emphasise the need to have up-to-date information technology if they are to participate in what the Dearing Report into the sector called the "global market" in which higher education is "an internationally tradable commodity".

Decline in research funding

The CVCP's president, Professor Howard Newby, says in his foreword: "Delivering growth in student numbers, whilst maintaining our international competitive edge, requires the investment of additional resources, not least to rectify the deteriorating unit of funding per student over previous decades.

"Even in research terms CVCP's submission points out the continuing decline in UK government spending on research and development both in absolute terms and in comparison with our major competitors.

"Universities require additional funds to ensure we can take the lead in the rapid development of the knowledge economy."

The government is reminded of the prime minister's commitment to research and science as the "bedrock of our economic performance".

The submission includes funding for student places, research and teaching and to meet the recommendations of the Bett Report on the pay of university academic staff.

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See also:
25 Oct 99 |  Education
University recruitment targets deprived areas
06 Jul 99 |  Education
University staff push for more public money
24 Jun 99 |  Education
Academics deserve pay rise, says report

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