UoB could experience a reduction of up to £80 million in revenue this year as a result of the projected decrease of international student income, according to internal documents obtained by Redbrick

Former Redbrick Editor-in-Chief (2019-20) and News and Elections Editor (2018-19).
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We need to ensure that the future of our university is secure through the measures we take

In response to a possible decrease of up to £80 million in international student income, the University will identify ‘costs that can be taken out of the system over the next couple of months.’ On 4th June, further details of the University’s cost-cutting plan will be discussed by the University leadership forum, which will be attended by the heads of the University’s schools and colleges. 

In autumn, the University will conduct a full assessment of its financial position, taking into account the number of students registering for the 2020-21 academic year.

As a result of the University’s need to reduce its expenses, concerns have been raised about staff on fixed-term and casual contacts facing dismissals. This is despite the University holding £126 million in cash and cash equivalents, and £255 million in investment assets

Professor Sir David Eastwood, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, is not planning to take a pay cut to support the University’s cost-cutting measures. 

We will not know our position fully until the student recruitment round is clearer from September

In an email to staff, the Vice-Chancellor said: ‘We need to ensure that the future of our university is secure through the measures we take, whilst also recognising the income into the University could be very significantly reduced next year, and possibly in subsequent years. 

‘We will not know our position fully until the student recruitment round is clearer from September. In the meantime, we are working on a number of scenarios and taking prudent measures, such as pausing the capital plan and controlling staff recruitment and non-pay costs. We will need to balance the needs to save costs with ensuring that we are ready to adapt so our recovery is as positive as possible.’ 

He closed the email by saying, ‘I am confident that by working as a team, with focus, and our desire to maintain all that is great about the University, and especially our staff and students, we will continue to respond positively to the challenges we face.’ 

A spokesperson for the University of Birmingham told Redbrick: ‘At this time of national crisis, the whole University community, students and staff, are pulling together to respond to COVID-19. Whether that’s with intensive COVID-19 research, keeping essential campus services going, volunteering, or planning for the next academic year.

‘Like the rest of the sector, we are working in a rapidly developing situation to establish what the financial impact of COVID-19 is going to be, and what steps we need to take to ensure that the University can continue to provide high quality teaching and world leading research. We are developing a number of scenarios as we will not have a clear view of our financial position until the student recruitment round is complete in early autumn.

‘In planning our scenarios, our approach at Birmingham is to carefully consider all options and ensure decisions made fully support the short and long term sustainability of the university. We have already put in place measures including tight controls on staff recruitment, delaying major capital projects where appropriate and restricting expenditure and costs. We will continue to review and adapt the scenarios as further information becomes available.’

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