The University of Birmingham has been ordered to save money after the Government cut its funding as part of an overhaul of university budgets across the country.
The university will see a cut of one per cent as the Higher Education Funding Council announced grant allocations for universities and colleges across the West Midlands.
The HEFC said the institutions would see an overall budget increase of 1.4 per cent, although this is still a funding cut in real terms.
The biggest grant increases go to the newer universities in the region, including the University of Worcester, which receives a 13.3 per cent increase, bringing its funding up to £20.2 million. Harper Adams University in Shropshire received an increase of 10 per cent, bringing its grant up to £17.3 million.
By contrast, Birmingham University’s funding is cut by 1.2 per cent, to £126.3 million, while University College Birmingham suffers a funding cut of 1.8 per cent, bringing its total grant down to £12.8 million, and Keele University in Staffordshire will have to cope with the biggest cut of 1.8 per cent, bringing its total grant to £31.6 million. The funding covers both teaching and research.
Warwick University will receive a 0.6 increase in its grant – bringing its total budget to £77.2 million.
Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council, said: “In these testing economic times we have done all that we can to maximise the flexibility that universities and colleges have to meet their priorities and pursue new opportunities.
"We have done this by protecting core funding and concentrating on what really matters: high quality learning and teaching, world class research and the important contribution that higher education makes to the economy and society. About half of all institutions will receive cash increases, but others will face reductions in funding.”
He added: “Managing in times of financial constraint is not easy, but we believe that universities and colleges will continue to meet the needs of students, users of research and the wider community as they have done in the past.
“Higher education represents an excellent investment for the country with every pound spent yielding three pounds to the economy. We will continue to make the case robustly for higher education which, as the Government recognises, has an essential role in creating a vibrant economy and a just society.”
Nationally, the total grant for 2010-11 is £7.356 billion, down by £573 million compared to last year’s grant of £7.929 billion.
A spokesman for the Russell Group, which represents 20 leading universities including Birmingham and Warwick, said: “The allocations from the funding council will pose real challenges for Russell Group universities. A decrease of 2.8 per cent in money for teaching in the coming academic year comes at a time when there is an existing shortfall in teaching funding.
“Our competitors in Europe, Asia and the US are pouring more resources into higher education as a strategy for coming out of recession and as a recent Higher Education Funding Council study has highlighted, without further investment the ‘quality of the student experience and the reputation and contribution of English higher education will suffer’.”
Would-be students face a shortage of places – and should “reappraise their aspirations”, the country’s admissions chief has admitted.
Mary Curnock Cook, the head of UCAS, has also advised young people to consider going to university later in life as they bear the brunt of funding cuts.
Applications to UK universities are already up by more than 100,000 this year despite there being 6,000 fewer places, and there are fears that tens of thousands of students will miss out on a course despite getting the grades.
Ms Curnock Cook said: “I can’t wave a magic wand and pretend that they are going to have to do anything other than reappraise their aspirations.”