Government to axe 10,000 university places

The government is set to cut 10,000 extra university places, despite a
record increase in applications.

There will be funding for only 10,000 more university places, for students
starting their degrees this autumn – just half of the 20,000 extra places
pledged by Gordon Brown’s government.

These will consist of 8,000 full-time undergraduate places and 2,000
part-time places.

Warwick SU President Andrew Bradley said: “I believe that everybody who
wants to study at University level should be able to, regardless of age,
employment status or financial situation. Today’s students should not have
to pay the price of financial mistakes made by those who went before us.”

He added, “Clearly, we cannot ignore the fact that record numbers of
graduates does not always result in the same number of graduate level
jobs… However, if there are people who want to enter higher education
who are stopped because of arbitrary limits or insufficient funding, then
they have been badly let down by the Government.”

A current Warwick student, however, said, “I think the idea of making more
university places is a mistake. It devalues degrees if 500,000 people are
studying for them every year.”

Applications this year rose by a staggering 16.5% compared with the
previous year, but many students now look set to miss out, as the
coalition government’s public spending cuts get under way.

The lecturers’ union, UCU, told the _Guardian_ that ministers had “dashed the
hopes of thousands of people” by axing half the expected additional
places.

The government has revealed that The Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills, which includes universities, can expect a 3.9% budget cut, of
£836m.

£118m of this will come from the fund set up by Labour to finance extra
places, whilst universities will have to make savings of a further £82m.

Professor Steve Smith, President of Universities UK, said, “Universities
are already dealing with the impact of over £1bn of cuts announced by the
previous government since last December. A further £20m of in-year cuts
will make the task of meeting student demand this summer – and not
compromising on the quality of the student experience – even harder.”

However, a spokesperson for The University of Warwick said, “Quite simply
it does not affect Warwick at all – we are more interested in expanding
postgraduate research numbers.”

The University will no doubt be pleased, therefore, that the government
has said spending on research, innovation, business and enterprise will be
protected within the £7.3bn total budget for higher education

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