King's College London sees biggest cash drop in teaching grant

England's OfS reveals how next year's £48 million teaching grant cut will be spread across institutions

May 13, 2020

King’s College London will lose the largest sum of direct teaching funding of any English institution next year, after the Office for Students detailed a £48 million reduction to its recurrent grants.   

This year the OfS is distributing £1.255 billion for recurrent teaching grant, after the government announced a reduction.

Of the providers funded by the OfS, 72 per cent will see a reduction in their grant funding for the next year.

King’s allocation is reduced by £3.2 million, from £42 million in 2019-20 to £39 million in 2020-21. Despite the 7.6 per cent cut, the London institution will receive the largest allocation next year.

Other Russell Group institutions also saw their allocations drop by more than £1 million: the University of Leeds' allocation was reduced by £2.4 million to £26 million, a decrease of 8.4 per cent; the University of Manchester by £2 million to £32 million; University College London’s by £1.8 million to £33 million; Imperial College London's by £1.8 million to £27 million.

The University of Cambridge’s allocation dropped by £1.1 million to £17.8 million.

In its announcement, the English regulator said that, overall, funding that supports high-cost courses is being reduced from £928 million to £895 million in 2020-21. As part of this, the rate of funding per student for high-cost subject funding will fall in cash terms by 5.2 per cent.

Universities whose student numbers for high-cost subjects drop will therefore see their allocations drop, as the funding allocations are based on activities and the year-on-year changes to their student numbers compared to other providers. 

Yet high-cost subjects are still a funding priority over other less costly subjects, which is why the University of Nottingham was able to boost its allocation by 3.7 per cent. Due to its increase in student numbers taking high-cost subjects, its allocation rose by £1.2 million, the largest of any university.

The University of Suffolk’s allocation was boosted by 22.6 per cent, from £2.9 million to £3.6 million.

The reduced allocations follow education secretary Gavin Williamson’s announcement in January of a £58 million cut to the OfS budget. As this includes funding for additional student numbers in medicine, following the expansion of intakes from 2018-19, it represents a loss of £70 million in real terms to the regulator’s funding.  

Funding for student access and success will be reduced overall by £16 million (4.8 per cent) from £332 million to £316 million. The OfS said that, within this, the disabled student premium had been protected.

The news of cuts for many comes at a time when universities are fearing for their futures, as the disruption caused by the pandemic crisis begins to bite on their finances. Already a number of universities have announced a range of cost-saving measures, including job cuts. King’s has announced its vice-chancellor will be taking a 30 per cent pay cut.

The OfS said the decisions had been made before the onset of the pandemic and that it is “working closely with the government to monitor the effects of the pandemic on higher education providers, recognising the exceptional steps they are having to take to protect their students and staff, and the implications for their financial sustainability”.

“We will continue to work with the government to support higher education providers in managing the effects of the pandemic and, where necessary, keep our funding decisions under review,” it said.

anna.mckie@timeshighereducation.com

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Reader's comments (2)

Has the 'office for students' offered any justification for these cuts, besides stating that they had made this choice before the coronavirus outbreak? Indeed, has the 'office for students' made ANY positive contribution to Higher Education since it was established?
"funding that supports high-cost courses is being reduced from £928 million to £895 million in 2020-21". Spoken like a true bureaucrat, withought thought, feeling, logic or reason. How can this be the rationale behind the cuts; to cut the most expensive courses? If the NHS uses a similar strategy nobody will get intensive care as it is a "high cost" procedure. No wonder HE is in such a mess!!!. Will we be cutting the number of staff at Universities by culling the most highly paid, therby saving the most per placement cut? Vice Chancellors beware. Why not abolish Oxbridgeas they have a very high cost per head?

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