The University of Gloucestershire may lay off almost 100 members of staff to save money and “commence a programme of rebalancing” after it was predicted that applications to UK universities may suffer a drop.
This was a result of reports by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) forecasting a reduction in university applications, alongside a cap on what the university can charge domicile undergraduate students.
Due to a demographic drop of 2.3% for the population of 18-year olds for this year’s cohort, UCAS has predicted a fall of 3,000 applications for places in higher education institutions in their report.
The University of Gloucestershire further added that reasons “affecting demand for higher education” also include the government’s capping of “the level of tuition fees universities are permitted to charge home undergraduate students” and “increasing competition for recruitment”.
Furthermore, they recently made a £16 million investment in a new business and technology school in Oxstalls. To compensate, they “are acting now in good time to reduce costs in order to ensure that the university can continue to flourish for the long term”.
They also said: “In deciding where we can reduce costs, our priority will be to safeguard the quality of the experience we offer to our students, and our ability to invest in new courses, facilities and services in order to create a sustainable future for the University, our staff and students.”
Reacting to the university’s decision, Anne O’Sullivan, regional official for the University and College Union (UCU) West Midlands, said that the trade union “strongly opposes any compulsory redundancies”.
She continued: “Cutting valuable expertise is not the way to combat falling student numbers, and investing in staff should be a top priority.”
This is an issue that is not unique to Gloucestershire University. More than half a dozen universities have advised staff that there may be job cuts in 2019, including the universities of Cardiff and Reading.