Government Announces New Support for English Universities in Financial Difficulties

The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has announced that the Government will provide additional support for universities facing severe financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus/COVID-19.

The Higher Education Restructuring Regime will support universities in England that could be at risk of insolvency. It aims to help protect the important role higher education providers play in their local economies.

Eligible providers will be able to seek this additional support to develop cost effective restructuring plans with conditions designed to focus the sector towards the future needs of the country. There are three overarching objectives which will guide the Department’s assessment of cases:

Protecting the welfare of current students.

Preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base.

Supporting the role that higher education providers play in regional and local economies through the provision of high quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs.

Williamson said:

‘As the country recovers from the pandemic we must look to the future, and our world-leading higher education has an important role to play in our success.

‘We need our universities to achieve great value for money – delivering the skills and a workforce that will drive our economy and nation to thrive in the years ahead. My priority is student welfare, not vice-chancellor salaries.’

The Restructuring Regime will only provide support after all other finance options have been exhausted and when there is a case to do so.

Financial support in the form of repayable loans will only be provided if there is a case to do so. It will only be offered as a last resort measure and with specific conditions that align with wider Government objectives. It would also require assurance that providers are fully complying with their legal duties to secure freedom of speech.

Further details of the Higher Education Restructuring Regime can be found here.

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