THE Class of 92 have suffered another business flop after promising 650 student places at their new university – and recruiting just 64.
Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt netted 10 per cent the number of attendees they promised for the 2019/20 term.
The United legends had already courted controversy after gaining £2.9million in government funds for their University Academy 92 despite each being multimillionaires.
The institution was funded through a partnership with Trafford Council and Lancaster University and bosses had a “vision for the creation of a global network of branches of UA92”.
But they failed to tempt students with the promise of an “innovative alternative to the traditional university degree course” at Old Trafford, Gtr Manchester.
It comes after a series of business failures for the footy legends after Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville were forced to close two restaurants in five months last year.
A source said: “This heaps embarrassment not only on the Class of 92 who can’t seem to get anything right off the pitch, but also on Lancaster University.
“The university has really developed in recent years into a world class establishment, but staff feel bosses were a little star struck and lost their heads with this one.
“You don’t have to look very far into their business records to see the writing was on the wall with this from the start.”
Sally Hunt, the University College Union general secretary, slammed the decision by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC) to splurge millions on the project earlier this year.
She said: “Instead of doling out public money to grease the wheels of for-profit enterprises at a time of record student debt, the government should be supporting our public institutions and students.”
Questions have also been asked about the Department for Education’s decision to allow UA92 to sue the term “university” in its title when it does not have its own degree-awarding powers.
Gordon Marsden, Labour’s shadow higher education minister, said that the government was showing “contempt for the long-established requirements for university title”.
He said it risked “damaging the reputation of our higher education sector” after permission was granted in September 2017.
UA92 promises to give “broader courses than traditional degrees, designed to enhance life skills as well as employability” as its campus opened this month.
Bosses promised councillors it would bring investment to Trafford but the student stats question how many jobs the establishment can create.
MOST READ IN FOOTBALL
The university said: “The student population will grow incrementally from now as additional entry points, modes of study, courses and initiatives to widen access are introduced.
“Recruiting students is of course challenging across the higher education sector, not least in part due to the demographic dip which has seen a drop in the number of 18 year olds in the UK.
“However UA92 is launching with a very distinctive offer and a distinctive approach and we’re delighted with the amount of interest in studying with us.”
- GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]