"Universities are today warned that they face years of depressed funding, amid reductions by some in the number of degree places on offer after a £915m cut in the higher education budget.
"David Lammy, the higher education minister, says that universities would have to find new sources of money from industry and abroad to see them through a "good few years" before public spending rose again. He urged them not to simply contract as funding got tougher.
"But yesterday it emerged that several universities were already planning to cut places. A record amount of applications is expected next year as the number of school-leavers peaks and students who failed to get a place last year reapply. As a result, tens of thousands could miss out."