Big deficit magnifies trouble at Cambridge

June 28, 2002

Cambridge University has blamed "insufficient" government funding for an £11.6 million deficit, which it says is threatening its ability to deliver excellent teaching.

Although the blow was softened by news that the university had received its biggest ever single personal donation this week - as much as £45 million - the university said its financial troubles had left it with crumbling buildings and depleted libraries.

In the week after Oxford University said it was considering charging students top-up fees to tackle a more modest £2 million deficit, Cambridge said it had to "look at ways to ensure that it raises the maximum amount of income". It would not say if market-rate tuition fees would be considered.

The governing council confirms in a report this week that it is "deeply concerned" that its "Chest" income - from the funding and research councils, and from tuition fees - was forecast at £206.6 million for 2002-03, against an expenditure of £218.2 million. The anticipated deficit was up from £5.9 million and is increasing despite cost-cutting measures.

The council says Cambridge is plagued by "old and inefficient building stock..., a backlog of maintenance, under-resourced administration, out-of-date or nonexistent IT systems and under-funded libraries".

Cambridge said in a statement: "Increases in funding council grants have not kept pace with costs. There is an ever-increasing difficulty in meeting the costs of providing high-quality undergraduate programmes."

The council estimates that income for 2002-03 will be £135.6 million from the funding council, £41.8 million from academic fees, and £7.4 million from endowment income.

The council has instructed the planning and resources committee to come up with a plan to get the university into a breakeven position for 2004-05.

The council's warnings come as Cambridge confirmed a donation of up to £45 million from Herchel Smith, the scientist who helped develop the contraceptive pill. The money he bequeathed is likely to be spent on a number of science professorships.

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 3 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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns