The University’s Heslington East expansion will offset a certain proportion of the Higher Education funding cuts expected to hit York next year, University chiefs have stated.
The £500 million project, which has been criticised for its large cost, will ironically provide a financial boost to the University as it will be able to expand its student numbers.
David Garner, University Press Officer, said: “The Heslington East development is a major investment that is already bringing economic benefits both to York and the wider region and will underpin the University’s position nationally and internationally both for research and teaching and learning.
“In an increasingly competitive environment for higher education, both the new academic facilities on Heslington East and the additional student accommodation will be important factors in ensuring that York continues to be an attractive destination for both UK and international students and a producer of world leading research.”
Unlike the majority of UK universities, York will benefit from an increase of 600 new accommodation places by 2012 as the construction of the expansion project continues.
It is thought that the increase in accommodation and tuition payments will help to offset the projected extra £4million in efficiency savings in 2010/11 at the University of York, made necessary after governmental higher education funding cuts announced before Christmas.
The Heslington East project has been mostly funded through grants, trusts and long-term investment options. This means that its massive cost has a minimal impact on the general cash flow of the University.
Jon Meacock, Heslington East Project Director, said the University was planning for an additional 600 beds to be made available on the expansion by October 2012, in addition to the 618 at the beginning of this academic year.
Meacock added that “procurement and construction timetables dictate when additional student accommodation will be available.”
In line with the announcement last year from Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE), that banned universities from increasing their home student numbers for the foreseeable future, the University will be forced to fill the additional rooms with either International or Post-Graduate students, who pay a significant amount more than EU or Home students.
As first reported by Nouse in February 2009, John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, ruled that universities should “eliminate” any home student number increases after the Government realised it was unable to provide any increased financial support.
In February, the University stated that as the constraints apply “only to home undergraduate student growth”, plans to fill Heslington East will be “unaffected” by the announcement.”
Garner continued: “In the context of the Heslington East expansion, the undergraduate home market is only part of the picture.
“A substantial proportion of the increase in students associated with the development will be of postgraduate and international students.”