Cambridge hit by cut to fee incomes

March 19, 1999

Cambridge University's colleges are bracing themselves for a blow to their historical autonomy as the university's central administration is expected to make them face the full burden of government cuts to their fee incomes, writes Phil Baty.

The college fee, paid direct to the independent colleges and worth about Pounds 16.8 million to Cambridge, is to be phased out at Pounds 650,000 a year over ten years from next year and replaced with a Pounds 10.7 million funding-council block grant paid direct to the central administration.

Oxford University - the only other recipient of the special college fee - agreed earlier this month to subsidise part of the funding cut in the short term to bolster the collegiate structure. Cambridge is likely to force colleges to meet the full burden, a university spokeswoman confirmed.

Jeremy Fairbrother, senior bursar at Trinity College, Cambridge, said: "I think the colleges accept that they will take the full brunt of the cuts."

Dr Fairbrother warned that Trinity, Cambridge's richest college, may not be prepared to play a major role in any financial redistribution of funds between the richer and poorer colleges.

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