funding cuts

Product Design among subjects hit with 50% funding cuts for 2021/22

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The Office for Students (OfS) has confirmed funding cuts will be brought in as part of how it funds to English universities and colleges for 2021-22, a move called ‘the biggest attack on the arts in living memory’ by Unions.

The OfS states that high-cost subjects not related to medicine or healthcare, STEM or those supporting specific labour market needs, will be subject to reductions in funding from next year.

This 50 per cent cut to course fees through OfS funding supplements will affect Product Design, Industrial Design, Industrial Model Making, Technical Engineering and Drawing, as well as Manufacturing and Production.

Subsidies will be reduced from £243 per full-time student per year (in 2020-21) to £121.50, with further bad news for those studying in the Capital, with the removal of subsidies for universities and colleges operating in London.

Responding to funding reforms, the University and College Union (UCU) condemned the cuts as “the biggest attack on the arts in living memory”.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady, said of the funding cuts: “This drastic cut to creative arts funding is one of the biggest attacks on arts and entertainment in English universities in living memory. It will be hugely damaging for access, creating geographical cold spots as many courses become unviable – including at institutions in the capital where London weighting funding is being removed.

“The universities most vulnerable are those with a higher number of less well-off students and it is unconscionable to deny them the chance to study subjects like art, drama and music


“This announcement undermines the huge contribution the creative arts sector makes to society and the wider economy, and ministers should be careful not to try and fool anyone by suggesting a comparatively modest increase for some select specialist institutions will make up for this act of vandalism, which will risk widespread job losses within these vital subjects.”

Nolan Smith, director of resources and finance at the OfS, said: “Distributing funding is an important part of our regulatory work. The strategic priorities grant for universities and colleges plays an important role in supporting high-cost subjects and boosting student access across the country.

“We will continue to work with government and others to ensure our funding continues to make a positive impact across the higher education sector.”


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