Only one in 20 universities can afford all the IT and library resources that it needs, a study suggests, prompting calls from a vice-chancellor for the fee cap to be "raised or removed".
A survey of 100 heads of IT and library services in UK higher education, conducted by IT provider Eduserv, found that 20 per cent of respondents said that their department’s budget had been cut for 2015-16.
Another 48 per cent said their budget was staying the same, despite rising costs and inflation.
Consequently, just 6 per cent of respondents said that their institution could afford all the IT and library resources that it needed to support teaching and learning.
Quoted in the report, Bob Allison, vice-chancellor of Loughborough University, described the limited budget for learning resources as a “very significant issue”.
“There’s not enough money to support the provision of all the student learning resources we would ideally want to provide,” Professor Allison said. “I think the cap on tuition fees needs to be raised or removed to support institutions’ provision of learning resources.”
In the survey, 90 per cent of respondents said that students expected round-the-clock access to learning resources, while 78 per cent felt that the availability of learning resources influenced perceptions of the university as a good place to study.
But only 37 per cent said that students preferred online-only access to all the resources that they needed.