LUSU budget may be cut by up to a third in the 2020/21 academic year

The university is offsetting losses by making more cuts

Lancaster University Students’ Union is to have its funding slashed by up to 33 per cent in the 2020/21 academic year.

It was announced yesterday that the Students’ Union is to face up to £288,000 being wiped off from the block grant given by the university each year.

This block grant was frozen in 2016 at £871,750 – despite this, student numbers in Lancaster have grown from over 13,000 students to just under 16,000. Effectively meaning that the SU now receives £59 in funding for each student, versus (adjusting for inflation) £71 per student in the past. This compares to the University of Bath (receiving £104 per student), Loughborough (£97 per student), and Leeds (£96 per student).

This information was leaked to The Tab Lancaster some time ago, and sources said that the university is worried about the projected losses caused by a lower student intake due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though official UCAS statistics actually suggest that even more students are going to university in the 2020/21 year than in many years.

One of the sources suggested that if the Union was going to have its budget cut by so much, then the university should advise on where the cuts could be made.

The Union is still yet to publish its financial accounts, despite the fact that they should have been made public at the AGM (Annual General Meeting), although the second part of the adjourned meeting was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

This comes after LUSU has defunded the college sport C league, and also cut the Active Lancaster scheme – a scheme that had benefitted around 1,000 students. Not to mention the Union being voted as the second-most unpopular SU in the UK. It was announced at LUSU’s AGM back in October that the Students’ Union is operating at a deficit; Lancaster University itself is already projecting a £66 million loss in the next academic year.

Lancaster University Students’ Union’s full statement can be found here.

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