UA’s asks ahead of the Spring Budget

Addressing the immediate challenges facing our universities and their students 

UK universities now incur losses of £6bn annually on their core activities of research and teaching for UK home students. Our members are making significant changes to adjust to financial pressures, including major restructuring and transformation programmes. Recent analysis by PwC demonstrates that all universities remain extremely vulnerable to scenarios that are not directly within their control. This includes costs running higher than anticipated, and changes to international and domestic student recruitment.  

In the long term, government should seek options for restoring the unit of resource to the equivalent of 2015/16 levels as soon as practically possible, and we hope to engage in constructive conversations around how that may be achieved.

In the immediate term, there are three areas where government support is needed now.


1. International student demand

International student fees now fund UK university research and teaching: 

Universities have diversified their income streams in recent years to compensate for reduced public funding, and increased surplus-generating income sources, especially international student tuition fees, to cross-subsidise other activities. 


Declining international student demand poses a serious and imminent threat to the university sector’s stability: 

Asks for the Spring Budget: 


2. Managing the cost of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) 


Asks for the Spring Budget: 


3. The student cost of living crisis

Student maintenance support is now falling far short of student living costs: 


Students from the poorest families are the most impacted, and social mobility may be threatened as a result: 


Universities, Students’ Unions and the Government have increased support, but current hardship funding cannot meet demand: 


Increasing maintenance support for students commands popular support: 


Asks for the Spring budget: 


Read our full budget submission here.

Further reading