Report: Welsh universities “face serious financial challenges” due to pandemic

(Title Image: Cardiff University)

A report from Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre (pdf) has suggested Welsh universities could lose up to £140million as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Previous estimates have put the future closer to £100million.

While the report says a Welsh Government decision to reprofile tuition fee payments to take more money in the first year, alongside furlough schemes, would help a wider package of financial support may be required.

Higher education is said to contribute up to 4.8% of the Welsh economy and in Cardiff, Swansea, and Ceredigion, universities directly or indirectly employ 5% or more of the local workforce. The paper also warns that Welsh universities may not be able to call upon their cash reserves to the same extent as other universities in the UK.

Education Minister, Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem, Brecon & Radnor) has previously said that the scale of required support may be too great for the Welsh Government to bear alone, while the Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans (Lab, Gower), has called for an extension to borrowing powers – which has been supported by Plaid Cymru.

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