Queen’s University says it is still reviewing its course options to prospective students and has confirmed that “no decisions have been made” regarding proposed cuts to the places on offer this September.
It follows confirmation that the Ulster University intends to slash 43 full-time undergraduate courses along with a further 10 part-time undergraduate programmes. The subject areas affected include Film Studies, Irish History, Dance, Art, Design and Built Environment as well as Computing and Engineering. However the university is stressing that while some courses will cease, this will not affect specific subject areas with different courses in these areas still being made available.
It emerged last October that there may be 1,100 fewer places in September 2015 due to financial pressures at Stormont. The Executive’s draft budget revealed that £82m will be axed from the Department of Employment and Learning. This 10.8% cut means that Queen’s University and the Ulster University face the prospect of reducing their student intake – even though both institutions are already over-subscribed with applications every year.
The number of undergraduates that QUB can educate is capped by the Department at 11,510. According to Queen’s University Students’ Union, while some schools and subjects may close, there are fears that tuition fees could also rise.
Vice Chancellor at Queen’s, Professor Patrick Johnston has already warned of the dangers that this cut will directly have within Northern Ireland, both in the lives of young people and to the wider economy.
The Ulster University have said that they, like all universities, regularly review course provision and make decisions by looking at a number of factors including the number of applications, employability statistics and national student satisfaction scores.
It is understood that both institutions are still awaiting confirmation from DEL on the extent of the actual cut to their respective budgets, after which the precise number of student places to be cut in 2015/16 will be revealed.
A spokeswoman for Queen’s University confirmed to The Scoop that the review process was still underway in terms of course places and that “no decision has yet been made” in relation to what the extent of the undergraduate cuts will be or how many student places are likely to be affected.
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