In Britain various spokespeople for the university sector and the academic community have been arguing for a while that British universities are becoming financially vulnerable and that some may become financially non-viable. The latest warning along these lines has now been sounded by a an outside body: the National Audit Office. It points out that some universities are going to be squeezed financially by a combination of public funding cuts and new student contribution arrangements.
Even in stable financial times, universities in these islands tend to be run on a knife edge financially. They do not record big surpluses, and they tend to be highly reliant on a small selection of (sometimes inter-dependent) income streams. In bad times they become vulnerable very quickly. In addition, the funding cards in England have just been thrown in the air by the government, and as of now we don’t know how they will land and what the effect will be.
Britain out-performs most countries in higher education. This is now being put at risk.