Having already topped up tuition fees and wrung cash out of alumni, hard-up UK universities may soon have to borrow yet another money-spinning initiative from the US - selling cast-offs and curiosities over the internet, writes Phil Baty.
US universities make thousands of dollars a year selling surplus equipment on the world's biggest car-boot sale, eBay. Microscopes (sold for £7), an antique globe (£5,920) and even a pedal-powered submarine have all been sold via web-based auctions.
The University of Wisconsin reaps £197,000 a year from selling its unwanted items via an in-house web-auction site.
An eBay spokesperson said that most buying and selling trends spread from the US. "The US saw the first hospitals selling equipment on eBay, and now many UK hospitals have followed suit.