Universities to cut 5,000 courses

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The Independent Online

Universities have slashed more than 5,000 degree courses because of government cuts and the hike in tuition fees, it has been claimed. A study by Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA), a service for admissions tutors, claims there will be a 12 per cent drop in the number of courses provided next year compared with 2011.

The finding, revealed in The Sunday Times, shows that, as they compete for students who will pay up to £9,000 a year, universities are cutting courses thought to be too expensive or not good enough. When the higher fees are introduced, about 80 per cent of government teaching grants will be withdrawn. This is in addition to universities already having to cope with a 10 per cent cut in state funding.

SPA says 38,147 courses will be offered by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) in 2012, down from 43,360 this year. A spokesman said the cuts were "a possible reflection of the systematic review of course provision by some higher education institutions".

A University and College Union spokesman said: "It'll be a real tragedy if [students living at home to reduce costs] find cuts at their local university mean they can no longer study the subject they have always wanted."