The industry body has warned that Scottish universities need a “reliable, sustainable funding settlement to help institutions recover from the Covid 19 pandemic,”
As debt levels are now rising to record levels, Universities Scotland, which represents organisations, called for ‘full support’ for the sector.
The organization calls on the Scottish government to make “rapid progress toward sustainable funding for every Scottish-based student,” while the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) stressed that in the 2020-21 academic year, the country’s higher education sector faces an expected overall deficit of £ 176 million.
Scotland’s universities said the U.K. This week, the government’s Budget Review did not explicitly state how much funding would be available north of the border for higher education, either through new research money announced or through the Shared Prosperity Fund.
The organization stressed that the Scottish budget for 2021-22 would be’ vital’ to the future of higher education with the Brexit transition phase coming to an end at the end of December.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Chair of the Universities of Scotland and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said the draft budget of Finance Minister Kate Forbes would shift towards sustainable financing.
“If that can’t be achieved in one leap, we expect at least a full reversal of the £750 per student erosion in real terms since 2014-15.”We expect at least a total reversal of £ 750 per student erosion in real terms since 2014-15 if that can’t be achieved in one leap.
In 2018-19, public support for university teaching was projected to be £ 157 million below full cost, although university research was funded at just 80% of the cost.
Scotland’s recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic will be educational-recovery led,”Scotland’s from the Covid 19 pandemic will be education-led.”
He said, “We owe it to our young people to provide maximum support for them and to ensure that in the years ahead they have the best possible educational experience.”
To do this, universities need to recover from the financial shock and obtain from the Scottish Government a secure, sustainable financing settlement.
“We are ambitious for Scotland to play its full part in the recovery, but the Scottish Government’s next budget will be crucial in closing the big gaps in higher education funding.”
It is “unfortunate that there are only a few days to go” until the full effect of Brexit is felt as the transition phase ends, Prof. McCormac said, and universities “still have no clarity on our future research relationship with the EU, nor do we know whether we will be members of the Erasmus student mobility program.”
He added, “While we welcome the commitment that all EU funds will be covered, the lack of detail regarding the Shared Prosperity Fund is concerning.”
“The value of university research has never been more evident than during this pandemic,” he said.
“We need further progress on funding research at full cost so that Scottish universities can continue the world-leading research and innovation that will deliver a sustainable recovery.”
He added: “We need to rebuild our capacity to create more jobs, improve social services, restore living standards and build an even more inclusive society as we move out of the deep crisis caused by the global pandemic.”
“Investing in universities does that.”
“The lack of clarity from the UK Government on whether or not there will be an agreement with the European Union and the lack of clarity on EU-related funding in this week’s UK Government Spending Review creates significant uncertainty for our universities and colleges,” said a Scottish Government spokesperson.
We remain clear and consistent in our stance that, in order to ensure that Scottish finances are not affected, we expect a complete replacement of EU funding and we expect the UK Government to fully comply with the devolution settlement in any possible agreement.
“We know that our universities and colleges are facing significant challenges as a result of the pandemic, and we are working closely with them to mitigate the impact of the crisis.”
“He added, “Our Sustainability Strategy for Further and Higher Education has highlighted the measures we have taken to encourage higher education, including