Announcing cuts to HE funding while everyone’s on holiday? Maybe Christmas isn’t such a good time to try and bury this particular bad news.
Am I being too cynical this close to Christmas, or did the Government think that if it announced its £533m university funding cuts two days before Christmas when the entire HE sector is very firmly on its hols, it might just sneak the bad news out without anyone noticing? Nice try, but no cigar.
The penalty of £3,700 incurred by universities for every student over-recruited strikes particular fear into this ex-admissions tutor’s heart.
The numbers game in University recruitment is a dark art at the best of times, and in a recession I’m sure that second guessing what proportion of students offered places will both accept the place and get their grades becomes even more impossible than ever it was.
That the Government ‘wants to see more degrees completed over two years’ via fast-track courses is the sort of news that will affect more than just admissions tutors’ mental health, however. This will presage a fundamental alteration of our education system that no-one in the sector will let pass unnoticed.
I think that the government may have misjudged its burying of this particular bad news though. At pretty much the only time of year when our HE colleagues take a real break from just keeping their heads above the academic water, they now have this proposition on which to focus their undivided thoughts and attention (when not watching Sound of Music for the 80th time, of course). We shall await their considered response in the New Year with bated breath…
The only disadvantage I’ve found of having joined the merry army of bloggers is that I now have another New Year’s resolution to add to my burgeoning list – to try and write more frequently. After all, the signs are it’s going to be a particularly eventful year for higher education in particular! In the meantime though, I wish everyone a very merry Christmas, and a peaceful 2010.