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Universities face funding cuts

English universities are facing cuts of up to 12.6 per cent in their government funding, with almost every university being affected.

England's 100+ universities have discovered how much they are being allocated in direct government funding for the academic year 2011-2012, which is allocated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

A total of £940m is being cut from the budget for teaching, research and buildings for the 2011-2012 academic year: a 12.6 per cent cut. There are also several special funding programmes ending, such as the one-year University Modernisation Fund.

Hardest hit will be newer universities that focus more on teaching than research, as research-focused institutions should be able to offset at least some of their teaching loses from their research income.

The government’s plan is that the money lost will be regained when the rise in student fees comes into play in 2012.

"This is a challenging settlement for universities and colleges. In distributing the grant we have tried as far as possible to ensure a smooth transition to the new funding arrangements for higher education in 2012, when more public funding will be in the hands of students and less routed through HEFCE grants,” says Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of the HEFCE.

"The funding allocations announced are the result of recent cuts of around £1 billion to universities' public funding, before the new tuition charges even begin to come into play,” responds Professor Steve Smith, president of Universities UK. "There remains a great a deal of uncertainty about funding over the coming years. The government must now provide more clarity on final plans for the 2012 system as soon as possible,” he adds.

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