SWINGEING cuts to higher education institutions in the region have been announced by their funding body.
The University of Portsmouth and further education colleges in the region will see their budgets cuts by up to more than ten per cent, according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) figures.
South Downs College in Waterlooville has been worst hit with as last year’s allocated budget of £418,000 being scaled down to £376,000.
Fareham College and Highbury College follow shortly behind with 7.4 per cent and 6 per cent cuts respectively.
The University of Portsmouth has seen its £60,543,000 budget allocation reduced by 5.8 per cent in cash term – to £51,695.
There are concerns these cuts which are set to come in before the student fees are introduced could have a negative impact on
Louise Allen, local branch secretary of The University and College Union and senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth’s school of art, design and media, said: ‘This is going to put a lot of pressure on some departments.
‘We risk seeing arts and humanities courses and departments shut down because with more students choosing scientific subjects because of the pressures of having to pay thousands more in annual fees.’
Aakash Naik, president of the university’s student union, said he was quietly confident his his vice-chancellor and team of governors would be able to weather the storm.
He said: ‘We have a lot of economists in charge here and even though all the students have noticed hidden costs creeping up on them because money’s tight, I don’t think any of our departments are going to be in trouble.’
Dr Catherine Richards, vice principal of Fareham College, said the cuts would not affect higher education provision at the college as planned adjustments to their fee structure in line with government recommendations had already been put into place.
She said: ‘There will be no impact on jobs as a result of this change.’
Universities minister David Willetts said: ‘Next year will be a year of transition to a new funding regime where more teaching funding will follow the choices of students.
‘We recognise the vital role that higher education plays, which is why revenue funding for teaching and research in the higher education could rise by nearly 10 per cent in cash terms by 2014 to 2015.
‘These changes will support a more diverse sector, where the choices of informed students provide a drive towards high quality teaching and efficient use of resources.’
Across England, universities and colleges have had teaching budgets cut by more than eight per cent and that for research by nearly three per cent compared with last year.