In response to the announcements from the Department for Education and the Office for Students on support for institutions in the current crisis, Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), said:
While we need time to digest the finer details, this seems like a carefully-calibrated package that delivers much of what the higher education sector called for without over-exposing taxpayers.
The positive elements include some easing of cashflow challenges, a reprofiling of fee and research income and a renewed focus on students as well as institutions.
Some research-intensive universities will doubtless wish there was more money specifically for research now, but some of the more routine elements of the announcement – like a working group for research sustainability – could end up as meaningful.
Overall, the measures should give managers and governors the time they need to reset their institutions for the post-Corona world.
The package does not obviate the need for tough decisions. Any institution that faced serious financial challenges before the pandemic will still face them and, even with this new support, the structure of our higher education system is likely to change.