University Alliance welcomes HEFCE’s ‘sensible proposals’ but warns of consequences for those students who won’t get a place at university

In response to HEFCE announcement of university funding for 2010-11 Libby Aston, Director of University Alliance, said:

“HEFCE have made sensible proposals in response to  Government spending cuts. Decisions made by the Funding Council have sought to limit the damage of cuts on high quality teaching and research in our universities. We welcome the commitment to continue to fund excellence in research wherever it exists. Evidence shows that selectively funding research, based on quality, will achieve the most efficient and effective allocation of public investment in research.(1) These cuts will, however, have real consequences for the growing number of qualified applicants who cannot get a place at university.

“As well-run, business-like organisations, Alliance universities are both effective and efficient at delivering value for money of public investment. As a new economy takes shape, Alliance universities are playing an essential role in driving innovation and discovery, producing highly-skilled graduates. In times of financial constraint these essentials are even more important and compel us to spend what we have to the greatest possible effect. It is therefore critical that institutions are strategically focussed and managed in order to achieve our shared priorities with Government. University leaders need sufficient freedom within a framework if they are to deliver crucial benefits to the UK economy and society.

“Universities have striven to diversify their sources of funding and have continued a pattern of reducing dependency on public funding. Alliance universities obtain less than 50% of their income from core public funding. Private income should supplement, however, not replace essential public investment in higher education.

“Investing public funding in higher education is just that – an investment. UK universities are generators of economic growth and wealth creation. At any point in time it is crucial to maintain public investment in higher education in order to drive the UK knowledge economy and, at a time of recession, even more so. In a tight fiscal environment the choices are stark but the importance of public investment in higher education for our future economy cannot be overstated – as our global competitors know only too well.”


Notes for Editors

(1) ‘Concentration and diversity: understanding the relationship between excellence, concentration and critical mass in UK research’ is available to download here.

About the Alliance

University Alliance represents 22 major, dynamic, business-like universities at the heart of the sector that deliver world-leading  research with impact and are actively business-focussed.   Alliance universities educate 26% of all UK students and achieve some of the highest graduate-level employment rates.  These universities offer a research informed, academic learning environment and a culture of entrepreneurialism, equipping graduates for the 21st century.

Alliance universities

Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, University of Gloucestershire, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.

For further information, please contact:

Alexandra Harris, University Alliance on 0203 178 7491  or email

Further reading