Lincoln universities face grim funding cuts

Universities in Lincoln are preparing for sizeable cuts to their budgets this year, with one of them being the worst affected in the county.

According to figures from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), in 2011/12 the University of Lincoln will lose 3.9% of their funding.

In a stark contrast, Bishop Grosseteste University College, which offers degrees mainly in education, is losing almost 15% of their government funding.

The percentage makes Bishop Grosseteste the worst hit university by the cuts—City University in London was the next worst affected with 8.4%.

However, Principal of Bishop Grosseteste Muriel Robinson said that the cuts only appeared high due to recieving a one-off grant in 2010/11, which would not be continued in the next year.

Principal Robinson said: “Our robust financial plans for the future anticipated this level of funding from HEFCE.

“We will continue to have one of the strongest financial positions in the HE sector. Our recent open day went very well and applications for next year are high.

“The very high percentage reduction in funding shown in these comparisons is because we received a one off grant of £0.5 million in the current year which we never expected to be renewed for 2011/12.

“As a small institution that looks like a very large percentage of our total grant. Excluding that element from the calculation, our funding is in line with the rest of the sector and at the level we expected.”

In a press statement, the university college stated that not including the one-off grant, the reduction is only around 4%, similar to the University of Lincoln.

University of Lincoln spokesperson Thirzah Wildman told The Lincolnite the 3.9% reduction is “in line with what we were anticipating and have been planning for.

“Over the last three weeks we have seen a fantastic turn-out to our open days, with more than 4,000 people welcomed on campus, and numbers of applications remain high.

“Having said that, undoubtedly these are very challenging and uncertain times for universities and our plans for continued growth, alongside careful financial management, continue to be vitally important.”

At present, neither of the universities have decided how much they will charge for student tuition fees per year.

Currently, only the University of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Imperial College London will be hiking their fees to £9,000 per year.

Lecturers prepare to strike

A nation-wide strike over lecturers’ pensions, pay cuts and job losses is due to take place on March 24, called by the University And Colleges Union (UCU) .

At the University of Lincoln, 76% of UCU members voted for the strike, but nationally only 28% of the members voted altogether.

Exact numbers of academics taking part in the strike won’t be known until the weekend, but other universities are expecting hundreds of staff to take part in action.

At Lincoln, The Lincolnite understands that some lectures intend on picketing entrances to the main building on the Brayford Campus in protest.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said next Thursday will see an unprecedented level of action across the further and higher education sectors.

“The attacks on staff’s pensions, pay and job security have created real anger throughout the sector and instead of burying their heads in the sand, employers need to respond urgently to UCU’s attempts to negotiate.”

The University of Lincoln said it will seek to ensure minimum disruption for students during the strike on March 24.

View the full extent of the cuts to each university in England at The Times Higher Education [PDF]