Teesside et al to feel full effects of teaching clawbacks

Teesside University will lose almost a fifth of its teaching money in 2011-12 compared with its original grant allocation for this year after a £6.6 million clawback by the funding council, figures have shown.

March 24, 2011

Total funding for teaching at Teesside has dropped by 17.3 per cent, in large part because the institution failed to recruit as many students as it hoped for this year.

The figure is an example of how some universities will see teaching funding fall by more than 10 per cent in cash terms and at least 12 per cent once inflation is taken into account, much higher than the headline statistics suggest.

Grant allocation tables for 2011-12 released by the Higher Education Funding Council for England last week showed that individual universities would on average experience a 3.4 per cent cash fall for teaching and research.

However, these figures were calculated after 2.9 per cent of "in-year" cuts had already been applied to the 2010-11 grants, so percentage falls for institutions appeared to be relatively small.

Hefce did reveal that if this year's cut were included, recurrent grants would fall by an average of 6.5 per cent, with teaching grants dropping 8.2 per cent on average.

But analysis by Times Higher Education reveals how much individual universities will actually lose in teaching funding.

It shows that almost 20 universities will lose at least a tenth of their total teaching funding in cash terms compared with the grant settlements announced in October, a few months before the in-year cut was made.

Worse than average figures can mostly be explained by the end of one-off University Modernisation Fund payments and the abolition of special funding for foundation degrees and equivalent or lower-level qualifications.

Institutions with the worst affected teaching allocations include: the Institute of Education (-14.7 per cent); Ravensbourne (-13.7 per cent); Bath Spa University (-11.8 per cent); City University London (-11.5 per cent); and Anglia Ruskin University (-11.3 per cent).

Others, including Teesside and the University of Cumbria, where teaching funding has fallen 15.3 per cent since October, the University for the Creative Arts (-12.5 per cent) and the University of Bolton (-11.8 per cent), also suffered because of extra adjustments made to this year's grants.

Hefce held back £4.6 million from Teesside after student demand in 2010-11 fell short of expectations. It lost a further £2 million owing to a reassessment of numbers in the previous two academic years.

Meanwhile, both Cumbria and Creative Arts had about £1 million in grant clawed back owing to a shortfall in places this year, and Bolton lost more than £850,000 because of updated information on student numbers in 2008-09.

A Teesside spokeswoman said: "The recent decline in demand for our part-time courses, particularly in the public sector, represents a large proportion of our part-time provision and has meant the university hasn't reached the significant additional funded target it was set."

But she stressed that the institution was still on course for a surplus of £10 million.

simon.baker@tsleducation.com.

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