Briefings & Evidence

An existential challenge: the financial threat facing Scotland’s universities as a result of COVID-19

The impact of the pandemic is still unfolding on our universities, as it is for the rest of the country. However, it is becoming clear that the impacts on higher education will be both significant and long-lasting and there is currently no clear path to sufficient support.

Scotland’s universities need a response from the Scottish Government to see off the existential financial threat now facing them, and ensure that the sector can play its crucial role in Scotland’s recovery from the social, economic and cultural impacts of this pandemic. We welcome the Scottish Government’s early engagement with us and its recognition of the scale of the challenge facing the higher education sector. It is vital that this is followed by swift financial support to stabilise universities’ position.

Universities are likely to need support:

  • in the short-term, to address the immediate financial shock already impacting in the current academic year (2019/20);
  • over the medium-term into 2020/21, where the impact is expected to be very significant resulting from a major decline in international student recruitment; and
  • over the long-term, to equip the sector to sustain itself and adapt.

Read our brief in full here.