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Cuts 'will cost university jobs'

Tens of thousands of university jobs will be lost if funding is cut by 25%, a union has claimed.

Students will face some of largest class sizes in the developed world, and the quality of the university experience will fall, the University and College Union (UCU) warned.

UCU analysed the effect of funding cuts of 25% on universities in England.

It found that if higher education funding is cut by this amount, 22,584 jobs will be lost.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget last month that government departments whose budgets have not been ring-fenced would face average spending cuts of 25%. This includes the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which is responsible for universities.

UCU said its figures were "conservative" and the impact of funding cuts could be worse.

The UK is currently the second most popular destination in the world for foreign students, after the United States, the UCU said, but increased class sizes and less contact time with lecturers will make it "a far less attractive place to study".

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "The scale of the cuts that we are facing is unprecedented and will have an undeniable impact on the student experience. Student to staff ratios, which are already high, will become some of the highest in the developed world.

"Lecturers who survive the cull will have less time to give individual students as they pick up the workloads of former colleagues and there will be fewer support services for students. The government will effectively be asking students to pay more for less at a time when our international competitors are investing in higher education.

"Do we really want to be left behind and risk being shunned by foreign students who will go to study elsewhere? We have a proud international reputation, but we realistically cannot expect to remain a major force in the global knowledge economy in the face of these cuts."

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