UK universities face massive cuts

British Universities are facing cuts of more than £900 million over the next three years, according to a new report.
Leaders of Britain’s most celebrated universities have warned that government plans to cut funding will lead to a higher-education “meltdown”.
They are at risk of losing funding in public spending cuts after the next general election.
“It has taken more than 800 years to create one of the world’s greatest education systems, and it looks like it will take just six months to bring it to its knees.”
The government’s arrangement to cut university funding may lead to many problems for British students and will equally put Britain’s world-class university reputation in danger.
The Russell Group, representing twenty leading research universities, said the gold standard education they offer would be reduced to one of “bronze or worse”. They continued by saying that the cuts would have “a devastating effect, not only on students and staff, but also on Britain’s international competitiveness, economy and ability to recover from recession”.
The Russell Group, which includes Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as Warwick and Glasgow among others, said the end result would be universities facing the closure of hundreds of courses, with less academic staff and larger classes. Reports suggest as many as 30 universities might not carry on in their present form if even the smallest funding cuts were introduced.
Unlike the UK, the German government has recently contributed a total of €18 billion into promoting world-class research alongside university education, while Nicolas Sarkozy has just announced an investment of €11 billion in higher education in France, stating he wants “the best universities in the world”.
The general secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt said her organisation had already identified over 5,000 jobs at risk in higher education and that it was now looking at thousands more. She said, “Unless these savage cuts are reversed, we face the very real prospect of many universities being forced to close, over 14,000 staff losing their jobs and some of the biggest class sizes in the world.”
In defence, the government has noted that higher education funding had risen by 25 percent since 1997. Higher Education Minister David Lammy continued by saying it was now time for the higher education sector to “tighten its belt”.
British universities, however, have little chance of raising their own funds as they rely almost exclusively on taxpayers. British student fees by law are capped at about £4,000 a year, and endowments are generally no more than modest.
Many universities have already begun making forfeits, with the University of Gloucestershire, in the southwest of England, having to sell its new London campus. Other universities have already scaled back certain programs, especially in foreign languages. Oxford, the world’s oldest English-speaking university, wouldn’t say which, if any, of its programs might be cut if there is a reduction in funding, whereas Cambridge have acknowledged such a possibility.
The Russell Group concluded “If politicians don’t act now, they will be faced with meltdown in a sector that is vital to our national prosperity.”