Policy Update – February 2023

Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS, Head of Policy, Academy of Social Sciences 

Pressures on HE funding

Government policies towards HE continue to put pressure on university finances and some aspects are still in flux.

This month has seen reports of uneven distribution of growth in the number of foreign students.  This has provided additional income to some universities at a time when teaching and research income is largely stagnant.  It has also seen reports of a conflict within the government about whether to curtail or shorten the post-study work visas which attract many of these students and which was increased to 2 years in 2019.  It is unclear whether BEIS, the Foreign Office or the Department of Education will outweigh the Home Office.  Student number caps are now biting in Scotland.  A working paper  from the Department of Economics at Oxford University explains how changes in the way that REF 2022 QR money has been distributed affects a number of social science disciplines, though universities can of course allocate the QR funding they receive differently.

Net Zero Review

More positively, Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review was published this month to a very positive reaction, including from the Grantham Research Institute at LSE.  It puts universities at the centre of many the recommendations, including social sciences and humanities.

Contact us

Write to policy@acss.org.uk and let us know if you have suggestions or ideas about our message, or to suggest future topics we should explore.