ONCE upon a time, going to university used to be a privilege. Only one-in-seven A-level students went to a university and very good grades were needed to get into the most popular courses.

The early 1980s saw an expansion of the higher education sector which has continued well into the 21st Century. Today almost half of all young people in England go into higher education.

Expansion of the higher education sector and wider access is a very good thing, but some of the cost has unavoidably been passed on to students. Greater access has robbed universities of their mystique. Students paying £9,000 a year demand value-for-money. If they don’t get it, then they will shop elsewhere.

But UK universities are among the best in the world for research. International companies regularly cite partnerships with universities as a key reason for basing themselves in the UK. Universities also help spawn new start-ups, boosting the economy and creating high value jobs.

The University of Bradford is having a difficult year. Student numbers have fallen, administrative staff are facing redundancy and now it has tumbled down The Sunday Times’ Good University rankings.

But we mustn’t lose sight of the great work being done by the university, particularly around health and wellbeing, and the value of its partnerships to the city’s economy.

We take pride in the achievements of our university and feel confident it will overcome these short-term problems.