Keep opportunities alive

January 30, 2014

I am concerned to learn that the plans to reduce the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills budget may require a significant reduction in the student opportunity fund.

Many institutions use the fund to create career opportunities for those traditionally under-represented in higher education, targeting previously untapped potential from across communities and raising aspirations. The opportunity funding was cut by £40 million last year, and this gradual erosion of financial support for those who need it most is incredibly damaging.

These financial support structures play an essential role in ensuring that the UK continues to have one of the most diverse and highly skilled workforces in the world by helping to support people from less advantaged backgrounds into education and providing help that can make the difference between success and failure once they are studying. In addition to the individual impact, the loss of such graduates would be damaging to the communities that benefit from the skills and expertise that these students bring as graduate employees and, subsequently, would be damaging to the economy as a whole.

I accept that there is a need to look at the long-term sustainability of university funding mechanisms, but we should not accept short-term cuts that hurt the most vulnerable or undermine universities’ ability to deliver their contribution to economic growth – via skills development, research and enterprise. I urge the Treasury to support BIS in maintaining the funding to universities while a more holistic long-term approach is developed.

David Phoenix
Vice-chancellor
London South Bank University

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Reader in Politics and Policy

St Marys University, Twickenham

Engineer

Cern

Professor of Anthropology

Maynooth University

Preceptor in Statistics

Harvard University

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Electrochemistry

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework