Reports indicate 40% of UK universities to lose £2,500 per student, face deficits 

A report by Financial Times indicates that 40% of universities in England are projected to face deficits in the 2023-24 academic year, with a growing number experiencing low cash flow levels.

In a similar vein, the Russell Group of elite universities has reported that universities are currently incurring an average loss of £2,500 per student annually, a loss projected to double to £5,000 by the end of the decade.

Moreover, recent data on student applications indicates a decline this year, starkly contrasting earlier predictions that anticipated a 35% surge in international student enrollments and a 24% increase in domestic student numbers.

The funding crisis is exacerbated by declining student applications, prompting some institutions to consider substantial cuts to prevent closure.

This information is set to be detailed in an upcoming report by the Office for Students, which assesses the financial health of the higher education sector.

Such restrictions could severely destabilize the sector, according to the head of the Russell Group of leading universities who also warned that reducing international student recruitment could diminish local community spending, cut opportunities for domestic students, and curtail UK research efforts.

The report therefore believes that an increasing number of providers will need to make significant changes to their funding model shortly to avoid facing a material risk of closure.


The UK government implemented measures that have significantly impacted international graduate students, including removing their right to bring family members and raising the salary threshold for skilled workers from £26,200 to £38,700.

These changes have led to a notable decrease in applications.

According to the Office for Students (OFS) annual statement, there has been a marked deterioration in the financial health of the higher education sector compared to the previous year.

Last year’s report indicated no immediate concerns regarding the short-term viability of most providers.

Furthermore, due to escalating financial pressures stemming from the reduced number of overseas students and a decade-long freeze on the annual £9,250 tuition fees for domestic students, over 50 UK universities are now implementing budget and job cuts.

‘No evidence of abuse of graduate visa program’

Earlier this week, the government’s independent migration advisor concluded a 14-week investigation into the UK’s visa graduate program, finding no evidence of abuse and recommending that it continue.

Despite this, the government is contemplating further restrictions on the program, citing concerns that too many overseas students are enrolling in lower-ranked universities.

Professor Brian Bell, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, informed parliamentarians that there is limited “compelling evidence” to suggest that the graduate route is crucial for enhancing the skills of the UK’s domestic workforce. However, he acknowledged that it is essential for the financial stability of universities.

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