Higher Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the higher education sector.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

In 2018-19, there were 2.38 million students studying at UK higher education providers. This includes 143,000 students from the EU and 343,000 students from other countries.

The total UK sector income in 2018/19 was £40.8 billion. Almost 50% of this income was from tuition fees, around 15% comes from research grants and contracts and around 6% comes from residences, catering and conferences.

The government recognises that the Covid-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception.

On 4 May, my right honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and to ensure sustainability in higher education at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to all Honourable Members with full details of the package, details of which have also been published on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

The government is doing all that it can to keep staff and students at our universities safe in this unprecedented situation whilst mitigating the impact on education. In March, my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to students at higher education institutions to outline the support available. We continue to work closely with the sector, putting student wellbeing at the heart of these discussions.

Our latest guidance on the impact of Covid-19 is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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