The public university is under threat.
The deficit has provided the government with an excuse to radically restructure the funding, governance and mission of higher education. Tuition fees have been trebled, teaching grants slashed, ‘business-friendly’ courses praised and the private sector encouraged as a supplier of higher education. These developments are likely to diminish the sector’s already limited independence and its capacity to research and teach outside the framework of capitalism and corporate power. The consequences of the decision in 2008 to move universities into the remit of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, of the 2010 Browne Report into university funding, and of 2011 white paper on higher education will be to turn the University into an extension of capitalism.