University Debt Prompts Chancellor to Step Down

Student debt is difficult situation to manage. On one hand, in order to get the better jobs, we’re raised to believe a university education will stand us in the best stead. In terms of personal finance though, it is strange that students are actively encouraged to take on this debt without any proper education in managing their personal finance. After all, the current employment environment in the UK does not instil much confidence. Your financial circumstances can change without warning and any speculative financial planning can quickly fall by the wayside. That’s why you have to be as prepared as possible and be quick to react when debt problems arise.

Summing this relationship up quite nicely is a story that has recently emerged from The University of Cumbria. We talk quite often about the level of student debt in the UK but every once in a while, we must actually look at the debt of the institutions themselves. For The University of Cumbria, which is facing debts amounting to £30million, the recession and restrictions on student intake have been blamed for its ongoing debt problems.

In fact, the extent of the problem is such that the University has been prompted to appoint an interim vice chancellor in order to replace Peter McCaffery, whose tenure was ended prematurely. Mr McCaffery had held the position of Vice Chancellor since the University opened in 2009 but Professor Graham Upton will now officially take up the post this week.

The chairman of the University’s board of directors, the Venerable Peter Ballard, was buoyed by the number of applications that the University of Cumbria still receives on a regular basis and was confident that the staff and students would continue to uphold the same high academic standards that they have displayed up to this point.

However, as a fitting reminder that no institution can guarantee employment, the University of Cumbria has been forced to meet several challenges in a difficult economic environment and as a result, Mr McCaffery’s position as vice chancellor was brought to a premature conclusion. A major part of his role while at the university was to establish a financial recovery plan. However, up to 200 jobs look set to be cut at all levels of the university’s staff. The university have set a further target of an additional 1,000 students to be recruited by 2012.

Sadly though, the University’s Ambleside campus project is being placed on hold indefinitely and the intended development of the campus in Carlisle has been cancelled. These cuts are an effort to stem the loss of an estimated £800,000 a month. It just goes to show that regardless of the sector in which you operate, the recession is indiscriminate in its effect. Universities have always operated in a speculative manner, with implied levels of student debt and no guarantee of return on investment. You would imagine that the Vice Chancellor would be relatively safe in his position but it just goes to show that anyone’s financial situation can change at any time.

That’s why it’s good, when struggling with personal debt problems of your own, to be able to depend on specialist debt advisors like those at Harrington Brooks.