Advance Notice of Higher Education Funding Changes in England – Second
Who should read this
- Please read this notice if you
already have a Higher
Education qualification and want to start to study another one at the same (or a lower level) in 2008/09
or in future years.
- Throughout the rest of this note, we
call such students
“Second Degree Students” but they include all Higher Education qualifications, not just Degrees. This note applies to England.
- From September 2008, the Government will begin
the way universities and other higher education providers in England are funded. From that date, taxpayer
support in the form of grant from the Higher Education Funding Council to providers to teach most Second
Degree students will start to be reduced.
- Instead the grant will
to support more people of all ages going to study Higher Education in England for the first time.
is not a cut in funding overall. The Government is redirecting funding to increase the number of students
taking first degrees.
- The changes will be phased in gradually.
The pace of
change will be fairly slow in 2008/09 with only about £25 million being redistributed which is 0.2%
of the total money we give to support Higher Education.
- Existing Second Degree students should not
as institutions will continue to receive taxpayer support for them until they complete their studies.
should new entrants who study for a second qualification but at a higher level e.g. someone who already
has a Foundation Degree and wants to study to get an Honours Degree, or someone who has an Undergraduate
Degree and wants to get a Postgraduate Degree. Taxpayer support will be available to institutions to
enable them to teach students who are progressing to higher qualifications than the ones they already
- There will also be exemptions for some subjects where it
is in the national
interest to have a good supply of graduates – medicine for example. We already make special provision
for such graduates to get student support – which is not usually available for students doing second
Who is affected
prospective new entrants in 2008/09 studying courses at the same or lower level should contact the Institutions
at which they are interested in studying in a few weeks time to see what the position is. The majority
of students planning to go next year are still likely to be able to find places although they will need
to contact the institution at which they are hoping to study.
that these changes may mean that institutions increase their tuition fees for Second Degrees, although
they are not obliged to do so. Tuition Fees can already be set at any level for most categories of Second
Degree Students and different
institutions may well respond in different ways to the new rules. You may want to look at a number of
options before decidin what to do.
- For some Second Degree students,
Development Loans might help. These enable individuals to borrow up to £8,000 to pay for vocational
courses lasting up to two years. Approximately 25% of CDLs (worth about £20 million) are already taken
out to support HE courses, primarily postgraduate courses. However students will need to consider the
suitability of the loan scheme very closely in the light of their own individual circumstances. They are not suitable for everyone but they can and do help some students.
is the Government doing this?
- In a nutshell, because
we think it is fairer. It should also make a difference to the importance institutions attach to raising
skills and to widening participation.
- At the moment, across the
whole of their education, the taxpayer contributes about £100,000 on average to support students who
get a second degree, compared with about £55,000 for someone who leaves school at sixteen. In many cases
it hard to justify this both to taxpayers and to those who haven’t yet benefited from Higher Education
and got a first degree, so we want to change the balance of taxpayer support in favour of first time