UU to cut student numbers and staff

Ulster University's Magee campus in Londonderry.

Ulster University's Magee campus in Londonderry.

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Ulster University (UU), which has a campus in Derry, is to cut student numbers by 1,200 and staff by 210 due to a funding crisis it’s blaming on the North’s political leaders.

Announcing the consequences of the “dire” financial position UU finds itself in, the institution accused the Stormont Executive of “robbing” young people of opportunities to enter higher education.

Acting vice-chancellor Alastair Adair yesterday outlined the proposed cuts to staff at the university’s four NI campuses - including Magee in Derry.

“This is not a message I would want to convey but it is a message that the university has to face,” he said after briefing colleagues.

“It’s a direct result of the budget cuts and there has to be flowing from this a really mature debate among Northern Ireland politicians regarding the funding of higher education in the province because the implications of this are dire.”

He added: “The fundamental message is the Northern Ireland Executive is dis-investing in our young people, it’s robbing them of the opportunity for skills and what you will see is an export of our young people to other parts of the UK.”

UU has seen its annual recurrent budget cut from £89 million in the 2010/11 academic year to a projected £70.7 million for this coming year.

UU had already announced that it would be taking in 250 fewer students this September. Yesterday, it detailed further cuts to student places which will reduce the current 13,100 population of full-time students by 1,200 within three years.

In terms of staff, UU hopes it can shed the proposed 210 jobs from its 2,800 workforce through voluntary redundancies.

Another consequence of the cuts will see UU review what courses it runs in future, with a number likely to be axed by the start of the 2016/17 academic year.