Oxford seeks £3 billion but v-c decries state withdrawal

University of Oxford vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton has announced plans to increase the institution's fundraising target from £1.25 billion to £3 billion, while issuing a warning that philanthropy should be no replacement for public funding.

October 2, 2012

Announcing the new figure in his annual oration to the university on 1 October, Professor Hamilton said that the retreat of the state from directly funding some aspects of higher education was "a trend that has caused a great deal of anger, sorrow, and soul-searching".

"Its wisdom is untested, certainly in this country, but its reality is undeniable," he said.

"With greater weight and reliance being placed upon the individual and the private, it is no surprise that the role and the importance of philanthropy is being drawn into ever sharper focus."

Professor Hamilton said that Oxford has already comfortably exceeded its original £1.25 billion target. But philanthropy was not "a magic bullet for the future funding of our universities, and nor is it a door through which the state can progressively leave the scene", he said.

"Governments can bring to bear resources on a scale that dwarfs every other funding stream, even the most generous philanthropic endowment."

He added that even in the US, where funding for some universities is thought to be largely private, most research income comes from the government - around 80 per cent at Harvard University, compared with around 40 per cent at Oxford.

Professor Hamilton said there was a risk that the "vital connective tissue" between the two beneficiaries of education - the individual and societies - would be "atrophied by a progressive withdrawal of public funding for universities, to the serious detriment of both".

During the speech, Professor Hamilton also announced that the fundraising drive would pay for a £100 million matched funding scheme for postgraduate scholarships, starting in 2013-14, in an effort to close what he called the "graduate funding gap".

Under the scheme, open to applicants in all master's and doctoral courses, scholarships will be awarded based on academic merit and will cover the full costs of fees and living expenses.

The institution plans for 60 per cent of the money to come from philanthropic donors while it makes up the remainder.

Oxford already runs extensive scholarship schemes, funded through donations, for undergraduates from low-income families, postgraduate students in the humanities and at the new Blavatnik School of Government.

elizabeth.gibney@tsleducation.com

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
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (29 June 2017)

Academics who think they can do the work of professional staff better than professional staff themselves are not showing the kind of respect they expect from others

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

Senior academics at Teesside University put at risk of redundancy as summer break gets under way

Tef, results, gold, silver, bronze, teaching excellence framework

The results of the 2017 teaching excellence framework in full. Find out which universities were awarded gold, silver or bronze

Thorns and butterflies

Conditions that undermine the notion of scholarly vocation – relentless work, ubiquitous bureaucracy – can cause academics acute distress and spur them to quit, says Ruth Barcan