So what did happen?

Last week our post, “Say it isn’t so,” reported on an article from the NY Times and Times Higher Education on what was foreseen for budget cuts in higher education funding in the UK.  And yesterday’s announcement isn’t as bad as was being said then, it seems.

If I weren’t now in the UK, I’d say let’s leave it to those in the UK to say what happened.  But I’ve having a hard time getting what’s going on from British newspapers, in part because the reporting appears to rely on a background that I don’t have.  For example, the London Times was saying that education was the winner in the budget cuts, but the remark was surely employing an extended sense of “winning,” or  relying on knowlege of what other cuts meant.

There do seem to be two clear things:  one is that research funding is going to remain steady, though inflation will cut into it.  Still, this isn’t the end of British science, which many feared.  Last week the word was that research would be cuts by 25%. 

The second fact seems to be news of a tragedy.  Teaching funding apparently is going to be cut by 40%.  That’s better than the estimate of 80%, but the cuts will be born very unevenly.  Humanities and the social sciences are going to be cut, leaving them dependent on drastically increased fees.

In a very real way, one has to fear for the future of British universities.

And I hope that when our UK members recover from this awful news, they’ll add, explain, modify, etc.