Colleges 'must get ready for euro'

January 8, 1999

Universities and colleges must gear up for buying and selling services in the euro even though the new currency will have little immediate impact on their activities, funding chiefs have warned.

A guide to the euro issues with which higher education managers will have to grapple is being compiled by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the universities finance directors' group and the Committee of Vice- Chancellors and Principals.

Steve Chicken, former chairman of the finance directors' group and now pro vice-chancellor at Thames Valley University, said institutions such as the Open University, which has a lot of European business, might decide that charging in euros would be a good marketing ploy. But they would also run the risk of running up large exchange-rate costs, depending on how the Euro fared on the financial markets against sterling.

The introduction of the euro could also result in a price war for services such as consultancy and research, because having a single currency will make it easier to compare costs.

But Ian Lewis, finance director at HEFCE, said that in the short term the euro was unlikely to make much difference to British institutions.

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