UK government REJECTS calls for massive university bailouts
- United Kingdom government has decided to not bail out universities as it would result in a multi-billion pound bailout.
- Universities in the U.K. will continue to be allowed to charge students at full rates for tuition.
In stark contrast with the $14 billion paid out to U.S. universities in coronavirus bailout money, the United Kingdom’s government has shot down a similar package, agreeing only to assist with an estimated £2.6billion pounds in lost tuition funds.
“To be clear, we only expect full tuition fees to be charged if online courses are of good quality, fit for purpose & help students progress towards their qualification. If Unis wants to charge full fees they will have to ensure that the quality is there,” UK University Minister Michelle Donelan wrote in a May 4 tweet.
To be clear, we only expect full tuition fees to be charged if online courses are of good quality, fit for purpose & help students progress towards their qualification. If Unis want to charge full fees they will have to ensure that the quality is there https://t.co/yaeM1Fkdha— Michelle Donelan MP #stayalert (@michelledonelan) May 4, 2020
The U.K. government has also decided to place a limit on the number of students allowed to enroll in the upcoming 2020-2021 registration year, a measure designed to limit the impact of competition between universities to fill empty spaces normally filled by international students in order to make up for lost revenues.
“Instead of kicking the can down the road, the government must underwrite funding lost from a fall in domestic and international student numbers and remove incentives for universities to compete against each other at a time when we need to be pulling together,” said Jo Grady, the general secretary of University and College Union.
Instead of a multi-billion pound bailout to the universities, the government has instead developed a package worth £2.6 billion to help with tuition and £100 million for research funding.
Conservative Member of Parliament Chris Skidmore also chimed in to say that while the package is helpful it would ultimately not fully cover the financial losses from international students, thus creating a bigger problem in the future by ignoring the immediate need.
Senior Policy Analyst for the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation Jonathan Butcher told Campus Reform that the difference between the U.K. and U.S. coronavirus responses highlights that “in the U.S. the federal footprint in education is too large."
“The government is involved in over 90 percent of student loans with little involvement from the private sector, which means that when students or taxpayers find a problem, there are few places to turn,” Butcher added.
Butcher also sent Campus Reform a list of schools that are on a federal watchlist for monetary issues and still received federal funding from the stimulus package, including the University of Southern California and Georgetown University.
“There needs to be a strong commitment from the schools receiving funds. The money should be used for students and not campus administration,” added Butcher. “This is a unique opportunity for colleges and they need to go back to their main focus of providing a place for students to pursue truth. It is important to be responsible now in the face of tight fiscal conditions because every dollar counts and should be used appropriately.”
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