As the possible consequences of COVID-19 emerge, there are many sectors within the city that are beginning to struggle. I recently to the government to ask for more COVID-19 help for Norwich higher education (HE) institutions including the University of East Anglia (UEA).
UEA is predicting a reduction of 50% or more of overseas students for at least two to three years with the shortfall from accommodation income and course fees totalling as much as £30 million per annum.
Unless the government takes substantial and decisive action very soon, they will put the future of UEA and our city’s other higher education institutions in great jeopardy. Universities like UEA, which have significant numbers of international students, will be hit hardest by the falls in fee and grant income.
But it’s not just the future of local higher education which is at stake here. Universities are vital anchor institutions in local economies. So when higher education gets sick, that virus spreads rapidly to jobs and businesses all over our city. We will desperately need a healthy HE sector after COVID-19 has passed to generate a sustainable and robust recovery of our local economy.