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Budget Cuts 'will Lead To University Closures' - Say Vc's

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10881360

Three-quarters of UK university heads think public spending cuts will lead to the disappearance of some institutions, a survey suggests.

But almost none of those quizzed think their institutions will fail, the poll for PA Consulting adds.

Some two-thirds of the 43 university bosses who responded said they planned to develop an international presence.

Universities charge foreign students much higher tuition fees than domestic students.

So developing campuses abroad could lead to more students coming to study at their UK bases.

The web poll for the IT consulting and technology firm comes as a vice-chancellor warns that universities are preparing to start the next academic year with thousands of unfilled places because of fears of fines for over-recruitment.

Michael Brown, vice-chancellor at Liverpool John Moores University, wrote in the Independent newspaper that in normal times "university admission tutors offer more places to candidates than actually exist" to ensure all are filled.

Tight budgets

However, he added that this year they would not be able to do that because they could not afford to "take risks".

Last year some £4m in fines were levied against universities that over-recruited.

Mr Brown's warning comes as universities face their tightest budgets for decades.

Thousands Of University Job Losses - The Ayatollah Buggeri Thread

I'm sure all of these Uni's have good business plans and it will all be OK, I mean they are all run by the best of the best..

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And lotsa job losses elsewhere:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/7928933/Mass-strikes-loom-in-a-winter-of-discontent-for-UK-Government.html

Mass strikes loom in a 'winter of discontent' for UK Government
The Government must win the "hearts and minds" of public sector staff to gain their trust ahead of swingeing cuts or face mass strike action in a winter of discontent, an employers' group has warned.

The troubles have yet to begin. Sterling anyone?

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Earlier this week it emerged Leeds City Council had written to staff asking them to find different ways to cut £19m, in an attempt to minimise job losses.

I've visions of the taxpayer ending up with 3rd world services while the councils try and keep most of these people in employment on their original wages.

Bosses have already received hundreds of responses suggesting ideas – including putting an end to shelling out £50 every time a light bulb needed changing

They've been robbed, I would have only charged £40 a light bulb - the fools!

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If the BBC radio documentary I posted a link to on the 'Thousands of Job Losses' thread is in any way accurate, Cumbria and Leeds Met are only being kept alive by emergency subsidies from HEFCE. Willetts is widely believed to hold the view (there's a piece about it in this week's Times Higher Ed Supplement) that he'd rather let some of the weakest institutions die than topslice the whole sector. The 'secret' HEFCE list of underwater institutions is believed to number 9-12, depending on whose rumours and figures you believe. Presumably a decision will be made in the comprehensive spending review as to whether or not to euthanase them.

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When the public workers suss they are going to be robbed of MOST of their pensions..........THEN WE SEE TROUBLE!

Mike

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When the public workers suss they are going to be robbed of MOST of their pensions..........THEN WE SEE TROUBLE!

Mike

yes but their union reps are a bit thick and don't understand inflation measures so they'll only realise in 25 years time

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10881360

Thousands Of University Job Losses - The Ayatollah Buggeri Thread

I'm sure all of these Uni's have good business plans and it will all be OK, I mean they are all run by the best of the best..

If the likes of the University of Cumbria goes bust it will be no bad thing IMHO.

Conning students to go to somwhere that is little more than a "Tech" to gain a degree is of benefit to no-one (except the institution managers, of course).

tim

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Presumably a decision will be made in the comprehensive spending review as to whether or not to euthanase them.

They'll weigh up the cost of keeping people off the unemployment versus letting them go under. Rumours are circulating about the cuts to he being in the high end of the 20 to 40% range, so I suspect the latter. Mergers might be the way out for some? Might be an issue over shutting unis when students are being turned away but I think they will ride them out. My understanding is the institutions on the list are at the bottom end of the league tables, so easier to justify. I understand that there is a general assumption in he that some institutions will not survive.

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Guest absolutezero

yes but their union reps are a bit thick and don't understand inflation measures so they'll only realise in 25 years time

Oi!

Speak for yourself.

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Let's find out if those VC's that are getting paid more than the PM (coz they're worth it!) can find work in the private sector at that rate.

I doubt it.

I don't really like defending them because they are overpaid, but many of these people lead organisations that are in truth a lot more 'private sector' than many supposedly private manufacturing businesses and service providers. In terms of other employment, they'd likely be welcomed in other countries that, for the time being, admire our system for being the most efficient in the world (ironically enough).

Edited by Cogs

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They'll weigh up the cost of keeping people off the unemployment versus letting them go under. Rumours are circulating about the cuts to he being in the high end of the 20 to 40% range, so I suspect the latter. Mergers might be the way out for some? Might be an issue over shutting unis when students are being turned away but I think they will ride them out. My understanding is the institutions on the list are at the bottom end of the league tables, so easier to justify. I understand that there is a general assumption in he that some institutions will not survive.

Any examples of what will happen to the students if the Uni's close? Will people be able to finish the course they've started, other local Uni's to take them over and run them down until the students have finished?

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Any examples of what will happen to the students if the Uni's close? Will people be able to finish the course they've started, other local Uni's to take them over and run them down until the students have finished?

They won' shut it overnight. IMHO (which is very humble - not my area of expertise, I just work in HE) there would be two options:

1. Merger with other university (if poss)

2. If they decide to shut it won't be done overnight - they'd stop taking in new students and wind it down that way, I should imagine. The problem would be retaining staff during this period. I don't see how you can get academic X from a different institution to run someone else's course - it simply doesn't work like that.

3. Appoint some "super VC" to turn things around (chuckle, chuckle)

That's just speculation on my part. I don't know what precedents there are and it would be hard to handle I should think. Universities are not just educating 20k of students but are often also major local employers (2k staff). What do you do with the buildings/land? I suppose hand over to schools/fe colleges? I wouldn't want to be Osbourne in this situation, but if rumours are correct some unis are too far gone. If you need emergency funding to pay staff wages, you are past the point of no return. If it is being run that badly then I'd imagine you are just looking at a money pit.

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They won' shut it overnight. IMHO (which is very humble - not my area of expertise, I just work in HE) there would be two options:

1. Merger with other university (if poss)

2. If they decide to shut it won't be done overnight - they'd stop taking in new students and wind it down that way, I should imagine. The problem would be retaining staff during this period. I don't see how you can get academic X from a different institution to run someone else's course - it simply doesn't work like that.

3. Appoint some "super VC" to turn things around (chuckle, chuckle)

That's just speculation on my part. I don't know what precedents there are and it would be hard to handle I should think. Universities are not just educating 20k of students but are often also major local employers (2k staff). What do you do with the buildings/land? I suppose hand over to schools/fe colleges? I wouldn't want to be Osbourne in this situation, but if rumours are correct some unis are too far gone. If you need emergency funding to pay staff wages, you are past the point of no return. If it is being run that badly then I'd imagine you are just looking at a money pit.

That's the problem I thought of if they try to wind down over a 3 year period how are you going to keep the staff. Some would probably be poached by the better institutions probably leaving the dross behind to teach for 2 or 3 years giving even poorer value for money.

Perhaps too many Uni's bought into the leverage crap about how to run a successful business.

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They won' shut it overnight. IMHO (which is very humble - not my area of expertise, I just work in HE) there would be two options:

1. Merger with other university (if poss)

The V-C of the university at which I work (University of Leeds) stated last autumn in an all staff newsletter that a merger with the Met was absolutely not going to happen. Presumably he wouldn't have done that unless (i) he'd been put under pressure to at least consider merging the two institutions, (ii) he believed that the Met as a whole was a liability and too far gone, and (iii) he would not be allowed to cherry pick the redeemable schools and departments.

2. If they decide to shut it won't be done overnight - they'd stop taking in new students and wind it down that way, I should imagine. The problem would be retaining staff during this period. I don't see how you can get academic X from a different institution to run someone else's course - it simply doesn't work like that.

The school in which I work is about to decide on whether to terminate one of its three undergraduate programmes, and in preparation for the decision (which will be made in September), I've been looking into the logistics of this. The procedure would be:

  • Semester 1, year 1 - decision is made by School and Faculty Learning and Teaching Committees to terminate the programme. If this is controversial, e.g. opposed at Faculty level (basically, if anyone puts up a substantive fight), then this decision can easily be delayed by a year. Assuming it's made, the programme will be withdrawn from UCAS for year 2 entry. Meanwhile, the first year modules from the dying programme are being delivered for the last time.
  • Semester 1, year 2 - The withdrawal of first year modules from the dying programme that are not core or optional to any other programmes, and thus are no longer being delivered, goes through the Learning and Teaching Committees.
  • Semester 1, year 3 - The withdrawal of second year modules from the dying programme that are not core or optional to any other programmes, and thus are no longer being delivered, goes through the Learning and Teaching Committees.
  • Semester 1, year 4 - The withdrawal of second third modules from the dying programme that are not core or optional to any other programmes, and thus are no longer being delivered, goes through the Learning and Teaching Committees.
  • Semester 1, year 5 - The withdrawal of the programme itself finally goes through the committees.

So even if the withdrawal of a degree programme is uncontroversial and unopposed, it's a four-year process. I presume that if you were closing down an entire institution, you'd have to replicate the same process across the entire taught delivery in the absence of any merger or arrangements to transfer students to other institutions. As you point out, from the moment any writing was on the wall, the academic and support staff would start job hunting: the good ones would be gone pretty quickly, and you'd struggle to appoint any temporary replacements. By the final year of the institution's life, virtually all the teaching would be done either by TAs, the deadwood or academics who'd been bribed with a golden goodbye to hang on until the bitter end. Closing down a university would, I suspect, be a very expensive process.

Have any universities actually been totally shut down and ceased to exist (as distinct from merged, changed name governance status in 1992 etc.)? I can't think of any.

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Some of the colleges and universities could be demolished and the land used more productively.

In some cases even sports complexes and sports areas would be more productive and beneficial.

Edited by billybong

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Perhaps too many Uni's bought into the leverage crap about how to run a successful business.

More about the introduction of league tables and the govt's 40% target IMHO. Pressure from the govt to improve things quickly, get up the league tables. How do you do that? Spend loads of money thus boosting student satisfaction scores, spending measures, completion rates, facilites spend and so on and so forth. How do you get loads of money? Obviously govt largesse and borrowed money. Unfortunately they forgot about other business things, like vigorous risk management.

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So even if the withdrawal of a degree programme is uncontroversial and unopposed, it's a four-year process. I presume that if you were closing down an entire institution, you'd have to replicate the same process across the entire taught delivery in the absence of any merger or arrangements to transfer students to other institutions. As you point out, from the moment any writing was on the wall, the academic and support staff would start job hunting: the good ones would be gone pretty quickly, and you'd struggle to appoint any temporary replacements. By the final year of the institution's life, virtually all the teaching would be done either by TAs, the deadwood or academics who'd been bribed with a golden goodbye to hang on until the bitter end. Closing down a university would, I suspect, be a very expensive process.

Have any universities actually been totally shut down and ceased to exist (as distinct from merged, changed name governance status in 1992 etc.)? I can't think of any.

Those two seem the obvious first steps. Give notice of it closing at the academic year and book your students onto courses elsewhere; giving them plenty of time to source alternative accommodation if required. The receiving uni will then take on some of the academic staff to help with the extra supervision required.

Simple enough. There may be exceptions, such as the inability to source a Media Studies / Burger Flipping joint honours course in the locale but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

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Some of the colleges and universities could be demolished and the land used more productively.

In some cases even sports complexes and sports areas would be more productive and beneficial.

Housing please!

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Erudite synopsis

Have any universities actually been totally shut down and ceased to exist (as distinct from merged, changed name governance status in 1992 etc.)? I can't think of any.

I agree with all of the foregoing, which makes the situation even worse for the govt. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Or perhaps, money pit if they do, money pit if they don't. I think they have a severely limited number of levers they could pull to get successful institutions to merge with the dead weight, especially as the successful institutions no longer

I also cannot think of any, and if there were am sure it would have been mentioned in the THES by now, especially considering the London Met debacle.

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Those two seem the obvious first steps. Give notice of it closing at the academic year and book your students onto courses elsewhere; giving them plenty of time to source alternative accommodation if required. The receiving uni will then take on some of the academic staff to help with the extra supervision required.

Simple enough. There may be exceptions, such as the inability to source a Media Studies / Burger Flipping joint honours course in the locale but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Not simple at all. There is no space. Clearing is going to be blink and you miss it this year. If the govt wants to do that, they need to rip up the student number control. The institution that I am at has no additional teaching space (and I believe that is common), so you'd have to find this miraculous local uni that has the empty and appropriate facilities to take on the students. And is willing to take on the temp staff. And is willing to take on sub standard students (possible hit in league tables). Who wants to do that? What does the receiving uni get out of this exactly, other than a massive logistical headache and sub standard students? And the risk of setting a precedent of being willing to do this? The govt would need to sweeten the deal massively and even then there'll be few takers.

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Housing please!

To some degree it has its place to help to shut off the housing shortage argument but I didn't put housing because I don't think there's a real or serious housing shortage in the UK at the moment, there's just been a credit expansion focused on housing. Extra housing doesn't necessarily mean cheaper housing if prices are being decided by credit levels and housing policy and planning.

Of course if they're going to insist on another 10/20 million people on top of the current population then.......

And I would rather the builders didn't get any more profits in addition to those they've opportunistically had from the boom already especially on the back of the shoddy developments they like to build.

I think there's a real shortage of reasonably priced sporting facilities and sporting events (excluding professional football and that's not reasonably priced anymore) everywhere and that's been aggravated by land, including school playing ground land, being taken up by previous house building, colleges, NHS expansion, government buildings and so on.

Edited by billybong

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  • 144 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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