Press release

million+ comment after university funding drops by 9 per cent

14 Mar 2014

The university think-tank million+ has said that once the lifting of the student numbers cap, announced by George Osborne, the Chancellor of Exchequer, in his Autumn Statement, is taken into account higher education in England will be cut in real terms by 9% by the time of the 2015 election. This follows the publication of a letter from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which outlines details as to how the Funding Council will distribute government funding to universities in the 2014-15 academic year.

Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University and chair of the university think-tank million+ said:

“The Treasury’s decision to lift the cap on student numbers in 2015 has not been backed up with additional resources other than the promise of additional student loans. As a result HEFCE has been required to undertake a difficult balancing act to ensure that a wide range of activities continue to be funded.”

“Given that the Treasury estimated that there could be potentially 30,000 additional students by 2014-15 and there is no inflation proofing of fees or funding, the real reduction is more like 9 per cent.”

“No-one should be in any doubt that cuts of this order will be deeply damaging.”

“In the run-up to the general election political parties will need to do more than say that they value higher education. They will also have to make clear how they intend to deliver a more sustainable funding settlement for universities across the sector.”


Notes to Editors
1. For further information and to arrange interviews, contact Victoria Robinson, Press and Communications Officer, million+ on 020 7717 1658 / 07527 336 795 or email
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at:
3. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the cap would be lifted on student numbers in England in a statement to the House of Commons on 5 December 2013.
3. To read the HEFCE Circular letter in full, click here.