Written by Student Rights on 23 December 2009 at 11am

Funding cuts and fines for Universities in 2010

University funding will be cut by around half a billion pounds next year alongside new proposals to arrange 2 year fast track degrees in order to cut costs for universities. 

While applications rise, the government has a cap on how many people can actually attend an institution, with many universities falling foul of overstepping this mark.  To aid in clawing back some of the money, HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) under Lord Mandelson's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will have to opportunity to fine a university £3,700 for every student it takes on over the 15,000 limit.  But with growing numbers of applicants across the country, a reduction in funding and over 200,000 people being rejected places in higher education, can Britain's education system take much more of a beating? 

Another way of curbing costs and ensuring greater access to higher education has been the much touted 2-year fast-track degrees, which are set to be the cornerstone of the government's policy on higher education as we enter the new year.  Five universities have trialled this already and commentators have noted the idea as a welcome change, allowing those who wish to obtain a degree to do so quickly and efficiently, while those who wish to undertake longer courses should still be able to, bearing in mind the extra cost of another year at the institution.

Higher education minister David Lammy said that "Fast-track, part-time and two-year degrees do not represent a reduction in quality but an increase in choice...In the current economic climate, it was not a question of whether efficiencies should be made, but of where the efficiencies should be found."

dailypollmalHowever initial public reactions to the proposals have been mixed.  A Daily Mail poll today shows that the majority of the British public (no statistics on numbers of voters) would not back the idea of 2-year fast-track degrees.  The outcome remains to be seen, however Student Rights believe that this could be the start of an education revolution for the United Kingdom, with perhaps more people chasing Masters degrees as a result of costs and time saved on Bachelors'.