Response by Yorkshire Universities to the proposed changes to the funding of higher education in England

Thursday 24 February 2022

Responding to the publication of the government’s proposals to reform higher education funding in England, Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities (YU), said:

We now have clarity on how the government intends to take forward the recommendations in the Augar Review. It has been four years since the Review was launched, and, during that time, the world has changed in many ways. What remains a constant, however, is the value of, and the demand for, higher education (HE), and its contribution to increasing social mobility and enabling students from diverse backgrounds to reach their full potential.

HE is a vital tool for helping people, places and businesses in Yorkshire meet the opportunities and challenges of a rapidly changing economy. Our universities and other providers also play a critical role in creating the skilled workforce that key public services, such as health and education, depend upon.

Earlier this month, the government published a Levelling Up White Paper, which gave a commitment to tackling social and spatial inequalities. The White Paper rightly identified human capital as a critical investment for building more productive local and regional economies. The additional capital funding and strategic teaching grants are therefore welcome. However, financial pressures within the sector remain, and, unless we are careful, new minimum eligibility requirements to access HE student finance could limit access and stifle aspiration in some of our most disadvantaged communities. It would be difficult to see how this would square with the ambition to level up.

YU will consider the government’s plans carefully, and we will consult with our members before responding in full.

Note to Editors

Yorkshire Universities has a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire.

The members of Yorkshire Universities are: Leeds Arts University; Leeds Conservatoire; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.

The Chair of Yorkshire Universities is Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford.


Dr Peter O’Brien, Executive Director, Yorkshire Universities

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