Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK said: "We are disappointed that government has decided not to provide any additional funding to universities in England to offset the costs of unplanned increases in employer contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
"This is effectively a stealth tax to boost the Treasury's coffers. It represents annual costs increases of an estimated £142 million for around 70 post-92 universities across the UK from this September.
"Ultimately, this will have to be paid for by diverting funding from other priorities. Today's announcement in England is bad news for university students, staff and communities that benefit from universities.
"In England, these significant increases in pensions costs come ahead of the imminent publication of funding review recommendations. It is imperative that this review does not lead to further cuts that would lessen the positive impact of universities on the economy and society."
Dr David Llewellyn, Chair of GuildHE and Vice Chancellor, Harper Adams University, said: "This announcement will have a detrimental impact on the higher education sector and its students. The proposals will significantly increase pension costs for around 70 modern universities.
"The Government has committed to providing funding to deal with its decision for other parts of the education system and it should do the same for universities, particularly at a time of increased financial uncertainty arising from reviews of higher education funding that have yet to be concluded and the demographics facing the sector over the next few years.
"At a time when we must ensure that the UK has the skills it needs to deal with the new economic conditions that lie ahead, a decision that could result in money being taken away from front line teaching is deeply regrettable."
Helen Fairfoul, Chief Executive of UCEA said: "UCEA is saddened by the announcement from the Department for Education that Higher Education, unlike other sectors, will not receive additional funding to meet these significant costs arising from HM Treasury's announcement. Our member universities have been clear in their engagement with this consultation that an increase of over 7 percentage points (which equates to a 40% increase) in their contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme, and with very little notice, will have a highly detrimental impact including on their provision for students."
The recent Department for Education consultation calculated the additional costs to English higher education institutions of increased Teachers' Pension Scheme contributions from between September 2019 and March 2020 to be £80 million. However, the total annual cost to higher education employers in the UK of increased contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme will be £142 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year.