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UCU warns that government cuts will mean record numbers of students missing out on university

21 January 2010

UCU today said ambitious government plans to expand opportunity at university looked ridiculous next to swingeing cuts across the higher education sector.

UCU said today that unless the government was prepared to properly back its ambitious longstanding plans to increase university participation then thousands of qualified students would miss out on a place at university.
UCU analysis of figures released today by UCAS reveals a decrease in the percentage of applicants being accepted into higher education in 2009. In 2008 78% of students applying to university were accepted, in 2009 the percentage dropped to 75%. The government was heavily criticised last summer for restricting the number of university places available.
The union warned that the university experience for those fortunate enough to gain a place could be ruined by record class sizes if planned government cuts for the higher education sector went ahead.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The government has a fantastic record on trying to get more people into our universities. However, rhetoric alone is not enough. Now, more than ever, the government needs to be brave enough to back its policy and provide the necessary resources the university sector, and record numbers of students, so desperately need.
'If you make swingeing cuts there will be consequences. There will be job losses, there will be course closures and there will be qualified students who, despite having been encouraged by this government to apply to university, will miss out.'
In December the government revealed that it would be making extra cuts of £135m to universities, on top of the £600m announced in the pre-budget report. UCU has warned that students will face larger class sizes and substantial cuts to courses, as thousands of teachers find themselves on the dole queue. Last week university chiefs said that up to 30 universities could be forced to close because of financial problems and UCU warned that 14,000 jobs were now at risk.
The higher education sector is taking the biggest hit in public spending cuts. Germany, France and the US have all pumped additional funding into higher education as part of their economic recovery programmes.
The full results should be available through the UCAS website.
Last updated: 11 December 2015