Morning, Thursday, 7th December 2023
This conference will bring together policymakers, regulators and stakeholders to consider the long-term funding model and financial sustainability of the higher education sector in England.
It follows the recent House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee inquiry into the role of the Office for Students (OfS), which called on the Government to review university funding to allow institutions to plan for the long-term and set sustainable funding and delivery models.
With the Committee suggesting that the Government and OfS were not acting on financial concerns surrounding some universities, delegates will look at issues related to the complexity of the current funding model for HEIs following changes to the student loan system implemented in August.
Further sessions will assess alternative options, with calls for reform including the lifting of the current cap on tuition fees as Universities UK conducts a consultation on the future of higher education funding.
We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Professor Jenny Higham, Policy Lead for Funding, Universities UK; Vice Chancellor, St George’s, University of London; Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Aberdeen; Professor Karen Holford, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University; and Professor Christopher Millward, School of Education, Professor of Practice in Education Policy, University of Birmingham.
Overall, areas for discussion include:
- financial sustainability: assessing the current funding model - how universities are adapting to the current climate - medium and long-term risks to the stability of the sector - improving resilience
- tuition fees: options for future funding models following concern surrounding the decline in real-time value of tuition fees - considering support for students
- spending and university performance: meeting the academic needs of students - identifying potential future revenue sources - options for increasing financial support
- overseas students: understanding universities’ reliance on overseas students - strategies to diversify international student recruitment - long-term impacts for the sector
- research funding:
- the efficiency of the application process universities use in order to be awarded financial backing - assessing the efficacy of current spending
- the suitability of long-term programmes aiming to support research within UK universities, including the impact of the UK re-joining the Horizon funding programme from January 2024
- private investment in university research: incentives and improving confidence to boost private funding - priorities for continued engagement between businesses and publicly-funded institutions
- policy: priorities for stabilising HE sector finance moving forward - options for reform and regulation
The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DAERA, NI; DBT; Department for the Economy, NI; DfE; DSIT; Home Office; NAO; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.