UK Universities have expressed the need for financial support during the coronavirus crisis.
Universities are calling for a support package of up to £2bn to help them through the uncertainty of Covid-19. With numbers of international students coming in set to be at an all-time low, many universities fear they will lack the appropriate funding to continue operating as usual.
According to the BBC, universities will continue to honour any offers already made to incoming students. Alistair Jarvis, who is the chief executive of Universities UK, claims the proposed assistance would help universities to ‘weather the very serious financial challenges posed by Covid-19‘.
He also stressed that academic researchers have made a ‘huge contribution‘ in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and that their expertise will be essential in the ‘recovery of the economy and communities following the crisis‘.
Universities UK is asking for controls on the number of students each university in England and Wales can recruit this year, keeping them to levels expected before the coronavirus outbreak, to prevent financial swings and massive changes in intake numbers.
Eva Crossan Jory, who is vice president of the National Union of Students, has said that any extra funding must support students, ‘especially considering the mounting discontent that courses are not being delivered as promised and demands for refunds‘.
She echoed calls for the government to ‘step in‘ and protect the higher education system, but said it should include ‘refunding or all or part of the fees‘, to ensure students are getting a suitable return on investment.