This one time in late 2018 or early 2019 I had to give a 10 minute presentation at a job interview for an Admissions Officer post (the job I had when I became disabled) and was required to speak to the topic of challenges in HE in the STEM subjects.
I did a pretty good job of researching the issues at play. I covered Brexit, I covered gender disparity. I focused on finance.
I told a stunned interview panel that, based on the marketisation of the UK HE sector and the differences in the scale of our economy relative to population base vs the US, that the US HE model that the UK government was intent on chasing (exacerbated by the strangling of HEFCE funding under the Tories – they did the same thing under Thatcher) and the rate at which we were growing student debt would mean that the HE sector would, absent major policy change at the governmental level, cease to exist as the panel knew it inside 20 years.
I did not get the job.
I look at the backlash from people who now see themselves as paying customers instead of students (because we let the Tories, kicked off by New Labour, make HE a cold, cash in, cash out transaction) and I see that my prediction looks likes it’s starting to hold water. I hope I’m wrong; that policy changes, and the HE sector is returned to free-at-the-point-of-use provision like it used to be (and like the NHS should be) and that my beloved HEIs are saved.