'Unfair' funding attacked

June 20, 1997

NEW rules on distributing money are unfair and impracticable, claim universities expecting to lose cash from the changes.

At least ten vice chancellors are discussing opposition to decisions on a new method of funding teaching announced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England last week.

The method, to be introduced next year, will involve giving more money and fewer students to some institutions while increasing student numbers and cutting the cash in others. It is designed to bring all institutions to within 5 per cent of a standard level of funding within three years.

But Geoffrey Copland, rector of the University of Westminster, which expects to lose nearly Pounds 500,000 and gain 47 students, said the plans will cause some institutions to suffer.

He complained that most universities losing funds under the new system are new universities while most gaining are old. "In the early 1990s universities were told not to increase numbers and some of us obeyed that. Others took no notice and they are now being rewarded at our expense. We will be making representations to the funding council."

Sheffield University, which is likely to gain more than Pounds 580,000, feels the changes are fair. David Bearpark, director of finance, said: "Any adjustment to funding has to be done in a reasonable space of time otherwise it won't have the impact it should have. Three years seems a very reasonable compromise."

A HEFCE spokesman said: "We will be talking to institutions significantly affected about the impact on them.

"Our concern is a fair deal for students. We cannot justify the impact on students of continuing significant differences in levels of funding for similar courses between institutions."

Estimated losses based on assumed student numbers and grant allocations for 1998/99

Aston: Pounds 157,429

Brighton: Pounds 297,659

Central Lancashire: Pounds 437,483

Goldsmiths College: Pounds 143,565

Leeds Metropolitan: Pounds 409,472

John Moores University Pounds 492,382;

London Guildhall: Pounds 288,217;

Manchester Metropolitan:

Pounds 682,603

Northumbria: Pounds 467,538

Oxford Brookes: Pounds 249,507

Sheffield Hallam: Pounds 504,396

Teesside: Pounds 9,984

Thames Valley: Pounds 294,523

Westminster: Pounds 493,448

Wolverhampton: Pounds 451,820

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