Willetts announces end of state funding for social sciences

David Willetts today announced the effective end of state funding for degree courses in arts, humanities, and social science subjects.

David Willetts today announced the effective end of state funding for degree courses in arts, humanities, and social science subjects.

The cut would mean the full burden of funding for courses such as history (George Osborne, Andrew Mitchell, Chris Huhne), politics (David Cameron, Andrew Lansley, Philip Hammond), social anthropology (Nick Clegg), geography (Theresa May), and European studies (Caroline Spelman) will fall in future on students.

The announcement came today at an exchange with Luciana Berger MP at a Commons Select Committee hearing. According to the BBC:

“Mr Willetts said Lord Browne’s proposals envisaged most of the teaching funding “going in a different way – going via the student” by means of a graduate contribution.

“Under this model, which he endorsed, he said “the teaching grant becomes a much less significant source of resource for universities.” And he confirmed that, under Lord Browne’s proposals, the teaching grant for band C and D subjects – arts, social sciences and humanities – would be all but wiped out.”

The Browne Review recommended a change in funding arrangements for University courses with state funding from the new HE Council going only to:

“Clinical training programmes – this will contain the clinical components of what is currently known as Price Group A: courses such as medicine and veterinary science.

“Priority programmes – this will contain the programmes currently known as Price Group B and potentially some proportion of Price Group C: this is primarily science and technology as well as healthcare courses.”

The omission of any mention of the funding arrangements for arts, humanities, and social sciences – which fall primarily in Price Group D – was replicated in a press release from Willetts’ Business Department last Wednesday which mentioned only the continued funding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) subjects.

The arrangements are unlikely to take place until increased fees are brought in. Just yesterday, Hefce released a ‘review of subject price groups for 2010‘ which outlined that, “no changes will be made to subject price groups for 2011-12.”

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