Universities and Scotland: Time to Choose
The need to invest strategically in Scotland’s universities
Universities are one of Scotland’s greatest assets. They are anchor institutions for economic growth and transformation. They produce and promote both entrepreneurship and creativity. They have a proven record in widening access and winning recognition for pedagogical quality and the student experience. However, without sustained, prioritised and strategic investment, much of this is seriously at risk.
Universities are unique across education in Scotland in having seen real-terms cuts in funding per learner since 2014/15. Sustained inflation will deepen these cuts. On current projections, core university funding for teaching and research will have been cut by 37-41% in real terms over ten years, compounding a cut in funding per student of £2,325 that has already happened since 2014/15.
Universities are ambitious for our nation’s future. Our key ask is that the Scottish Government backs that ambition, which is closely aligned with its own aspirations, for our nation’s success and provides universities with sufficient funding to contribute effectively to the nation it wants to build. The Scottish Government can choose to make investments that boost the National Strategy for Economic Transformation’s vision of an inclusive, innovative and prosperous nation. It can widen opportunity for people to realise their full potential throughout their lives, and build a virtuous cycle of economic growth as well as growth in the public finances. It can invest in higher education as a driver of wellbeing, prosperity and inward investment. It can choose to take a strategic approach to the success of the university sector and the hundreds of thousands of students and staff who directly depend on it.
Our ask for public investment is balanced by our unconditional commitment to the common good, and our commitments to collaboration, reform and renewal.
Read our full budget bid: Universities and Scotland: Time to Choose.
Our ask is across three key areas:
- £45 million to boost research competitiveness
- An additional £400 in teaching and supporting for each student
- Capital transformation fund of £60m
We also urgently need the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council to develop a multi-year plan for sustainable funding for the sector’s contribution.