University strategy in an age of uncertainty: the effect of higher education funding on old and new

Publication date: 2 Dec 2001 | Publication type: Journal article/book/chapter | Theme: Education & Labour, Employment & Social policy | NIESR Author(s): Rolfe, H | NIESR Discussion Paper Number: 191

This paper explores the effects of changes in funding arrangements, particularly fees, on universities, and their strategic responses to these changes. Using data from interviews with senior managers in four universities, it finds the most prestigious, pre1992, university largely unaffected by tuition fees and the others responding to changes in application patterns and intake. However, the effects of tuition fees on university strategy are not easily separated from other changes in the funding of Higher Education, and universities strategies were strongly influenced by the need to reduce costs and to generate income in a number of areas.

A second major concern of all four universities was quality both of inputs such as students and staff and outputs, in degree results and ratings in employability, research, teaching and other activities. Marketing was assuming a position of increasing importance, with universities striving to develop a Ôbrand' to attract students, staff and funding.