University statement on the Prime Minister's announcement of a post-18 education and funding review

A statement from the University of Sheffield following Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement of a government post-18 education and funding review (19 February 2018).

As a University founded more than a century ago through public subscription, the University of Sheffield has consistently expressed the view that higher education should include public purpose and benefit as well as develop the talents of students. Our University was also founded with the express purpose of 'putting the highest quality education within the reach of the child of the working man' and this principle of the broadest possible access remains fundamental to our values as a global university offering outstanding teaching to individuals from all backgrounds with the ability to succeed.

Our University has for some time proposed a review of the purpose and funding of higher education which recognises the genuine needs of students, the economy and society as well as the challenges of public funding. Our commitment to quality and innovation in teaching, as well as our desire to address the cost of study, led us to pioneer innovative routes in high-quality technical education - including 1,000 industry-sponsored advanced manufacturing apprentices who are making a vital difference to skills and investment in our region.

With regard to the funding of universities, we have also emphasised the crucial contribution of international students in all disciplines to the viability of key subjects and to the provision of high-quality facilities for UK and home students alike. Our long-standing campaign to acknowledge the importance of international students and to encourage the government to adopt policies that are more welcoming to these talented young people, reflects this fact.

UK universities operate in a highly-competitive global context and are crucial to their local communities as well as to the UK as a whole. It is our sincere hope that the upcoming government review of fees will consider each of these elements and that its recommendations will recognise the many ways universities benefit both students and society.