The Office for Students (OFS) are said to be launching a review into how UK Universities use their funding and how it may be better implemented to support priority students. The review is set to be launched in spring but it is not going to investigate tuition fees, as a separate response will be published by the government regarding that matter.
While the majority of University funding comes from tuition fees, the government still financially supports many UK Universities, with 13% of Russel Group funding coming from the Government. As such, the Conservative Manifesto promises to deal with so called ‘low-quality courses‘. The review is set into practice to evaluate the funding so that it can go to priority subjects, and Universities UK states that government funding may be cut and re-allocated depending on the results.
Currently the government funding is spread over 300 or so higher education providers. It is used to help less advantaged students as well as to subsidise expensive subjects such as medicine, science and technology.
The Russel Group has expressed concerns regarding the review, arguing that funding already is tight, but the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has stated he supports the OFS:
I am strongly in support of this move to evaluate value for money and to consider the best way to target grant funding to the higher education sector in future.
Those opposing the review are worried that too much value is being placed on post-graduate earnings. When asked about it, leader of the University and College Union Jo Grady asked, ‘What can future employment or earnings potential really tell us about teaching quality?’