An overwhelming majority of the public value universities and colleges and want to see continued investment in UK institutions, according to a new poll released today (15 September).
The Ipsos Mori survey for Universities UK shows that 90 per cent of the general public thought it was important for the government to invest in UK universities.
The University and College Union (UCU) said the poll confirmed its own position that investment, not swingeing cuts, was the only way the UK could continue to operate as a global leader in higher education.
The poll comes just a week after a damning international report revealed that the UK is investing less of its gross domestic product in higher education than “competitor countries” and that the UK had plummeted down the international graduation rate league table.
The survey found that 89 per cent agreed that universities contribute to advances in science, technology and healthcare
But nearly half of all respondents (45 per cent) reported that they had never had any contact with a university. A quarter of those surveyed (25 per cent) had themselves studied at a university in the UK.
“We all benefit from higher education, whether we study at university or not, and I am pleased, although perhaps not surprised, that the public recognises this,” said UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt.
She urged the forthcoming Browne Review on university funding to “look again at the idea of charging big business for the substantial benefits it gains from a plentiful supply of graduates”.
Hunt added, “If the only options on the table are more ways to penalise students, then the review will have failed to meet its remit”.