Fall in student numbers forecast
More than a quarter of universities could see at least a 10% drop in student numbers as a result of government reforms, official figures show.
Many of those set to be hardest hit by the Government's overhaul of student places are newer institutions that plan on charging over £7,500 from this autumn.
In total, around three in four universities are likely to have an overall drop in numbers, according to data published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
Statistics published by the council show that 34 institutions (26%) are estimated to have a 10% or greater drop in student numbers compared to last year, and in some cases it could be over 12%.
The falls are likely to be caused in part by the Government's decision to hand over 20,000 places to universities and colleges that keep fees to £7,500 or less in a scheme known as "core and margin". The cap has also been lifted on the number of students holding at least two A grades and a B at A-level that universities can recruit.
HEFCE chief executive Sir Alan Langlands said he did not believe the losses would tip any institution into "significant financial trouble".
"A lot of these institutions, I suspect, will be charging more than £7,500 and therefore had a top-slice of the margin without the opportunity to win back numbers and without the opportunity on any significant scale to win AAB numbers."
HEFCE also announced funding levels for universities for 2012/13. The figures show that funding for teaching has been cut by £1.1 billion to £3.2 billion, while money for research remains the same as last year at £1.6 billion.
The gaps in funding are expected to be made up by the Government's move to triple tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000 per year from this autumn.
Universities Minister David Willetts said: "We want a student-focused higher education sector, more choice over where to study and a renewed focus on the quality of the student experience. That's why we're freeing up centralised number controls, improving information for prospective students and driving a new focus on the academic experience."