Money, money, money

IT doesn’t take a PhD in business studies to see the financial underpinnings of higher education are creaking.

The student loans system is patently not working, and the Government has asked former investment banker Philip Augar to come up with a new way to fund higher education.

Students are simultaneously drowning in debt while struggling to reach the end of term without adding to their already daunting burden.

Universities are nervous that a golden period of expansion may be coming to an end.

Laidlaw Music Centre gets underway at St Andrews Following a design competition in the summer of 2016, work has begun on Flanagan Lawrence's design of a new Music Centre for the University of St Andrews.

Story page 11

In the face of these pressures, every estate manager worth his salt is currently looking hard at ways to save money. It may be that a new build project has to be downgraded to a refurb of existing stock. It may be that ambitions for improved aesthetics have to be curtailed. Yet such steps go against what students are expecting these days from universities – with high fees to stump up, they understandably have high expectations of every aspect of university life. It’s a difficult circle to square.

One thing that can help is cutting energy bills. Our feature on page 26 should provide valuable information and inspiration. Each of the five universities that have been helped by Salix Finance with interest-free loans to upgrade or procure new facilities has achieved impressive energy cost savings: £300,000 a year at Reading, £237,000 a year at Nottingham Medical School and a whopping £1.5m at Liverpool thanks to a combined heat and power scheme which looks likely to cut annual energy bills by one third.

Editor Andrew Pring

Sales director Julian Walter

Production Gina Mitchell

Design Sandra Cid

Managing director Toby Filby

Take a look also at what’s going on at Swansea University (page 19). An office capable of generating more solar-powered energy than it consumes annually, and at a far cheaper price than conventional energy, holds out exciting prospects for us all.

And on an equally positive note, how fantastic to see three university building projects in contention for this year’s top architectural award, the Stirling Prize (page 7). As RIBA President Ben Derbyshire notes, “Each of the projects on this year’s shortlist shows the power and payback of investing in quality architecture, illustrating perfectly how well-designed buildings are worth every penny and can exceed the expectations of the community they serve.”

Publishers Stable Publishing Limited, SBC House, Restmor Way, Wallington, Surrey SM6 7AH, England. t. 020 8288 1080 f. 020 8288 1099 e.

Hear, hear. Only two new university buildings have won the Stirling since it was first awarded in 1996. Seeing the brilliant work done at Roehampton, Cambridge and Oxford, there’s every chance of a third soon being added to that list.

The publishers do not necessarily agree with views expressed by contributors and cannot accept responsibility for claims made by manufacturers and authors, nor do they accept any responsibility for any errors in the subject matter of this publication.

Andrew Pring Editor highereducationestates 3

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