£100m losses and massive pay cuts: The drastic steps unis are taking to avoid ruin

Looking pretty bleak ngl

Universities across the country are taking drastic steps to avoid financial ruin, as some expect a fifth of their income to vanish into thin air.

With an expected exodus of lucrative international students and a government bailout consisting of, technically, no new money, universities are up against it financially.

One by one, universities across the country are coming out to say they’re expecting gigantic losses next year, and announcing drastic steps to try and stay afloat. This is what we know so far.

Big universities are expecting to lose around £100m

The headline figures are wince-inducing. Cardiff, York, and Edinburgh are all estimating a fifth of their income to just vanish. £100m, just gone.

But perhaps the biggest estimated loss so far is Manchester, who expect to miss out on £270m.

Brave Vice Chancellors are taking pay cuts

This is an easy PR win – donate 20 per cent of your ludicrous salary to go towards student hardship funds. Just hope nobody asks why this wasn’t being done before, or why you’ve got so much salary you can just donate some.

Anyway, some of the country’s best-paid uni bosses have taken pay cuts. Bosses at Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Imperial, Cardiff, and York – who are paid anywhere between £250k to £550k – have all decided they can go without the odd £20-30k.

These pay reductions have also been accompanied by cuts for the universities’ executive boards.

Universities are laying off casualised staff to cut costs

Facing severe losses, Roehampton and Sunderland introduced voluntary severance schemes for staff. Bosses at Sussex have also proposed a similar scheme to the university’s governing council.

Dr Linda Cronin, Roehampton UCU president told Times Higher Education the news of the scheme “has been devastating for people, particularly as they are isolated at home.”

Some universities are also laying off staff on fixed-term contracts, including Newcastle and Bristol. However, Bristol say that the usual one week notice period was graciously extended to two weeks for those being let go from their temporary contract.

Pay rises and ‘non-essential’ hiring have also been put on hold

Elsewhere, cost-cutting measures take other shapes. Manchester is considering an asset sell-off, with VC Nancy Rothwell telling staff “we will need to cut our costs very significantly”.

Edinburgh is limiting promotions and pay rises, whilst York is closing buildings, stopping non-essential maintenance, and conveniently stopping travel.

Sussex is considering lowering fees for international students in a bid to increase demand. However, the uni says no such move is being considered for domestic students.

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