CBI: Close failing universities
FAILING universities should be allowed to close to free up money for elite institutions, a leading business spokesman said last night.
Richard Lambert, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, admitted closing or merging the worst-run universities would be ‘politically explosive’ but was ‘probably economically sensible’.
He pointed to research showing that members of the Russell Group of 20 leading universities could be reporting deficits of around 12 per cent of revenues in three years.
In a speech at Sheffield University, Mr Lambert said: ‘Looking across the whole university system, a small number of institutions are already in serious financial difficulty.
‘If forecasts such as these are even faintly realistic, then a large cohort of universities is heading into very big trouble.’
He said that if the Government decided to carry on funding all institutions, the best universities would ‘pay the price for the incompetence of the worst’.
Mr Lambert also proposed that better universities be allowed to raise tuition fees – currently £3,225 a year – ‘provided they offered full bursaries to those who couldn’t afford to pay the full rate’.