In the latest programme from the Education Studio we explore Financial Stress & Restructuring in Higher Education.

Four leading higher education experts in the fields of policy, legal powers, financial strategy and college restructuring provide key pointers for senior university finance, legal, management and academic leaders.

Speakers include:

  • Glynne Stanfield, Eversheds Sutherland, Senior international legal partner on universities
  • Chris Hale, The Director of Policy at Universities UK
  • James Clarke, Restructuring & Service Director at Deloitte
  • Julie Mercer, Global Industry Lead for Deloitte

Programme 1: Brand new set of rules (16 mins)

Glynne Stanfield, Eversheds Sutherland’s senior international legal partner on universities warns that not all universities have the same powers, or are constituted in the same form:
– That some will be limited in their action by their charitable status,
– That a flight of governors is a possibility if they do not understand their liabilities,
– That key powers to hold university title, have degree awarding powers, access the loans system, access T 4 Students cannot be easily transferred,
– That these are not controlled or licenced by one regulator.
– That serious academic freedom issues are arising in new and existing Chinese partnerships and collaborations under the new 10 year Communist Party Plan.
– A number of universities have set up European operations to ensure continuing access to the European student market in the event of a BREXIT

Programme 2: Change is in the air (6 mins)

Chris Hale, The Director of Policy at Universities UK anticipates the key factors for sustainability will be
– Impact from government policy, especially Augar Post 18 Review when it come out.
– Upside might be removal of restrictions on overseas student
– Universities will be expected to do more for less government or loans funding
– Will need to look to other sources of funding
– Will be confronted by wider government expectations, from supporting schools to contributing to local growth and industrial strategy
– That universities have already managed extreme change losing capital expenditure but being expected to keep HE infrastructure up to date – will be a continuing challenge.
– Still a high dependence on International Students
– Many universities still have ambitious growth plans that might have to be reviewed.

Programme 3: Under pressure (23 mins)

James Clarke, Restructuring & Service Director at Deloitte brings a wealth of experience from FE restructuring:
– Asserts that all universities are on a “decline curve” working to stay as high up the curve as possible
– Lenders are putting HE under more scrutiny
– Headwinds are coming and organisations need to be better prepared
– Better Scenario planning
– Key role for data and detailed analysis of
– But not give up investing in future
– Differentiates between stress measures, tactical or strategic
– Emphasises the role of leadership and prompt action
– How stakeholders (lenders included) are becoming “more wary” or HE.
– Examines the problems of “ dual leadership” – corporate and academic with governance deadlocks as risk

Programme 4: Reasons to be cheerful (18 Mins)

Julie Mercer, Global Industry Lead for Deloitte highlights the more positive strategies and opportunities in a period of change Changing Student Expectations following higher fees
– New Employer demands and clients, especially for higher apprenticeships
– Being well placed for the 4th Industrial revolution – modifying courses
– Take the chance to diversity income with more B2B income from employers
– Engage locally, more civic engagement more investment in “place”
– Access significant funds in City Deals and Smart City programmes.
– Still big possibilities in overseas students, in joint degrees rather than overseas campuses
– Learn from FE – quick deals often don’t work – build on existing partnerships now for options in future