The UK government has today (16 July 2020) announced details of its higher education restructuring plan to support universities in light of the impact of Covid-19.
In response, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "This announcement is further recognition of the severe financial challenges facing UK universities as a result of Covid-19 and the need to support institutions as they continue to play an important role in the UK's post-pandemic economic recovery, and we continue to speak with policy makers on how best they can support the sector. However, we would encourage government to be more ambitious, to go beyond a small number of universities in financial need, and to use this as an opportunity to help universities to undertake innovative changes to maximise their contributions to the economy and meet the needs of students and employers. UUK set out details for a broader transformation fund to ensure high-quality provision of skills to meet economic needs earlier this year.
"We are seeking further clarification about the scheme's accessibility to universities in all four nations, the process of applying to the restructuring regime and what conditions might be attached to any support offered."
In UUK's financial stability paper, we proposed a transformation fund to support universities over the next two to three years to reshape and consolidate through federations and partnerships or potentially merge with other higher education institutions, further education colleges or private providers. This transformation fund would support some universities to significantly change to achieve longer-term sustainability (not just short-term stability) and ensure high quality provision of skills to meet economic needs.