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The funding of further and higher education

The way in which further and higher education is funded varies widely across the UK, as do the social and political contexts within which decisions are made. As a union active in each of the devolved nations, it is important that members of the University and College Union (UCU) are equipped to deal with different political environments and policy announcements from devolved administrations, while also maintaining a consistency of message across the union.

UCU was therefore tasked by its members in late 2013 to examine some of the key differences in the funding environments and propose a means by which new policy announcements might be judged. This paper looks at UCU’s policy on funding and gives an overview of the overall picture of funding for further and higher education within each of the four nations. It goes on to set out some of the main areas for political debate, and finishes by proposing a set of ‘six tests’ by which different initiatives and funding policies can be judged.

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