Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Impact of Visa Changes: University of Northampton Offers Voluntary Severance to 500 Staff Amid Financial Struggles

Changes to international student visa regulations have significantly affected the University of Northampton, prompting the institution to offer voluntary severance to 500 staff members. This move comes in response to a predicted £19.3 million deficit, exacerbated by a substantial drop in international student enrollment, rising pension costs, and upcoming loan repayments for its new Waterside campus.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, highlighted the severity of the situation, noting a “40-50% shortfall” in international students, which has deeply impacted the university’s operations and market. The reduction in international students follows a government policy change in January that restricts most international students from bringing dependents to the UK.

Hillman emphasized that this challenge is not unique to the University of Northampton, as approximately 40% of UK universities are expected to face deficits this year. Despite the financial strain, he believes that institutions will endure, albeit with difficulty. The rapid recovery of student numbers post-COVID has been significantly hampered by the new migration policies.

The University of Northampton, home to about 12,000 students, relocated to the £330 million Waterside Campus near the town center in 2018. The capital repayments for the loan used to build this modern campus are set to begin next year, adding another layer of financial pressure.

Hillman defended the decision to move to the Waterside Campus, describing it as a necessary risk rather than a misjudgment. He recounted his visit to the old campus, which was plagued by poor conditions and inadequate student experiences, suggesting that remaining at the old site would have been an even greater risk.

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