Universities are facing a record £17.5bn pensions deficit — the largest for any British retirement fund.
Experts said this weekend that the £9,250 tuition fees paid by students for degree courses might have to rise even higher to plug the gap.
John Ralfe, an independent pensions consultant, said: “This is a huge risk to the financial health of British universities. There are only a limited number of ways of fixing it and the most obvious one is for student fees to rise even higher.”
Ralfe said that the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which pays pensions for academics at about 350 universities and colleges and has around 400,000 members, had been badly managed for years. “They bet on equities and it has not paid off,” he…