The Government 'got the maths wrong' on how much money the Treasury would recoup from student loans for new higher university tuition fees, a former ministerial adviser has claimed.
Nick Hillman, who worked for Universities Minister David Willetts said there was now a "big funding gap" emerging.
His claims follow new estimates suggesting the cost to the public purse of unpaid loans could eventually end up cancelling out the money raised by the move to raise fees to up to £9,000 a year.
The UK needs to spend more on higher education if it does not want to lose its reputation as one of the best places in the world to study, the head of the Russell Group has said.
Wendy Piatt, Director General of the group, which represents 24 leading universities, said Government spending matched Slovakia and Chile - "far less" than its main competitors:
The UK was recently ranked as the best in the world for the quality of its research.
However, UK public spending on higher education and research is comparable with that of Slovakia and Chile, far less than competitors like the US, China and most western European countries.
And while we currently punch above our weight, only with increased, long-term investment in research will the UK's leading universities and hi-tech industries continue to compete on the world stage.
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Stanford University
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- University of California, Berkley
- Princeton University
- Yale University
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
British universities are dropping out of the international top 100, jeopardising their reputations as some of the best places in the world to study for a degree, according to research.
The Times Higher World Reputation Rankings showed a widening gulf a between the "golden triangle" institutions in London, Oxford and Cambridge and the rest of the nation.
Despite 10 UK institutions making it onto the list this year - one more than in 2013 - it is still a far cry from 2011 when 12 British universities were in the top 100.
Bristol University dropped out this year, while Leeds lost its top 100 place last year and Sheffield dropped out in 2012.
Rankings editor Phil Baty said: "The UK has lost three big-name universities from the list of the world's 100 most prestigious institutions since the rankings were first published in 2011."
He continued: "Given how important global reputation is in attracting top international talent, collaborations and investment, this is cause for concern. The UK has some of the world's biggest university brands: we must protect them."
The Prime Minster's spokesmen made clear that the PM wants a ban on gender-segregated audiences on campus even where men and women voluntarily separate themselves, but stressed that his comments did not relate to places of worship.
[The Prime Minister] does not believe that guest speakers should be allowed to address segregated audiences, so he believes that Universities UK should urgently review its guidance.
The Prime Minister believes that universities should not beallowed to segregate audiences by gender at the request of guest speakers, Downing Street has said.
Nearly £900 million of student loans were sold off today as part of a Government drive to raise money to balance the nation's books.
The mortgage-style loans, which were taken out by students who began courses between 1990 and 1998, have been sold to a debt management consortium for £160 million.
Universities Minister David Willetts said the move represents "good value for money", and would enable the Student Loans Company to concentrate on administering more recent loans.
NUS president Toni Pearce said it was "extremely concerning" that the public would be subsidising a private company to make a profit from public debt.
One of the unions supporting university staff in their second strike over pay next month has said "enough is enough".
Michael MacNeil, UCU's head of higher education, said: "Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay and have made it clear that enough is enough.
"We remain committed to trying to resolve this dispute and the employers now have until 3 December to sit down and positively engage with the unions.
"If they don't, then our members and those from our sister unions will be out on strike again, as well as continuing to work to contract."
University academics and support staff will stage a second strike over pay in December, with unions claiming staff are receiving pay cuts in real terms.
UCU, Unison and Unite, all of which took part in a one-day walkout on October 31, will be joined by Scottish education union EIS on December 3.
The dispute centres on a 1% pay rise offered to university staff - including lecturers, technicians and administration workers - which the unions insist means there has been a 13% pay cut in real terms since October 2008.
But the Universities and Colleges Employers Association has said that, on top of the 1% general pay rise, many university staff get other contributions which will increase pay by 3% overall.
University academics and support staff are to stage a second national one-day strike on Tuesday December 3 in an ongoing row over pay, four unions have announced.