Unis told to get Vice Chancellor pay under control if they want COVID bailout money

Someone please help me budget this, my university is dying

Unis have been told to get Vice Chancellor pay under control if they want COVID bailout money, as the government lays out its conditions for helping them.

With worries about a huge financial black hole if lucrative international students stay away, uni finances are in a perilous state.

However, the government has now announced that any financial help given will be subject to conditions, and that some unis will be allowed to go bust.

Unis who get help will need to “refocus” on courses with low drop out and high employment rates – dubbed “high-quality courses, defined as courses with strong learner outcomes that develop skills that are aligned to local and national economic and social employment needs.”

Vice Chancellor pay has been under scrutiny this year. Analysis by The Tab found uni bosses were paid an average of nearly £350,000, with 60 per cent getting a pay rise in the most recent academic year.

In January, a Labour MP requested a parliamentary investigation into the soaring salaries. Now, unis will be asked to justify senior pay, finding savings and efficiencies where they can.

Along with value for money, the government also wants unis to clamp down on SU activism and protect free speech if they are to get any help.

“The funding of student unions should be proportionate and focused on serving the needs of the wider student population rather than subsidising niche activism and campaigns,” wrote universities minister Michelle Donelan. Unis could be made to submit a financial plan, in which they have to justify spending money on SU officers and student activism.

The idea that unis need to reform to survive is an admission that the current system isn’t working, says the NUS. “The need for a restructuring regime only underlines that marketisation has been a failed experiment in higher education that has harmed institutions and students alike,” said VP Hillary Gyebi-Ababio.

“These plans make it clear that the government are willing to let our institutions crumble away without proper protections.”

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