UNI­VER­SI­TIES AF­FECTED

FI­NAN­CIAL CRI­SIS

Finweek English Edition - - Property Compass - JO­HANN VAN ZYL

THE EF­FECTS of the world­wide fi­nan­cial cri­sis are even be­ing felt in un­ex­pected places – such as uni­ver­si­ties. The pub­li­ca­tion Uni­ver­sity World News, re­ports they have al­ready started re­duc­ing staff and cut­ting back on ex­pen­di­ture. The in­come of uni­ver­si­ties is fall­ing be­cause stu­dents are find­ing it more dif­fi­cult to ob­tain loans.

South African cor­re­spon­dent Karen MacGre­gor says lo­cal uni­ver­si­ties are al­ready suf­fer­ing as they are earn­ing lower re­turns on their in­vest­ments and be­cause the weaker rand is mak­ing im­por­tant equip­ment more ex­pen­sive to im­port. Uni­ver­sity prin­ci­pals in SA are also wor­ried that Gov­ern­ment might de­cide to cut sub­si­dies be­cause of the cur­rent eco­nomic down­turn.

In Bri­tain, 12 uni­ver­si­ties are fac­ing a pos­si­ble to­tal in­come loss of £77m if Ice­landic banks are un­able to make ar­range­ments to meet their fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments, says cor­re­spon­dent Diane Spencer.

From Aus­tralia, cor­re­spon­dent Ge­off Maslen re­ports that some uni­ver­si­ties have al­ready started re­trench­ing staff even be­fore the full im­pact of the cri­sis strikes them. In Oc­to­ber alone, 500 aca­demic and gen­eral staff mem­bers were de­clared re­dun­dant.

Re­becca War­den says uni­ver­si­ties in Spain, es­pe­cially in Madrid, suf­fered a se­ri­ous blow when their gov­ern­ment’s con­tri­bu­tion to run­ning costs was cut by 30% in Septem­ber.

And from the United States, Ge­off Maslen again re­ports that though uni­ver­si­ties there haven’t as yet ex­pe­ri­enced se­ri­ous cut­backs, con­cerns are grow­ing on cam­puses and no uni­ver­sity will es­cape un­scathed.

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