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7 March 2012

HEFCE has allocated 20,000 student places for 2012-13 through the 'margin' process

In October HEFCE published its approach to implementing the control on the number of full-time students that universities and colleges can recruit for 2012-13. This included information about how they could bid for 20,000 'margin' places (Note 1). The outcomes of bids are published today.

The 20,000 places have been divided between 190 universities and colleges: 9,643 places have been distributed between 35 higher education institutions (HEIs), and 10,354 places between 155 further education colleges (FECs) (Note 2).

The core and margin process was introduced by the Government with the aim of increasing student choice and supporting a more diverse higher education sector (Note 1). Bids were assessed on criteria of quality, demand and cost only those institutions with average tuition fees in 2012-13 of 7,500 or less (net of fee waivers) were eligible to bid. HEFCE received bids from 203 institutions for 36,000 places. Final allocations were made on a pro rata basis (Note 3).

As a result of this bidding exercise HEFCE will be providing direct funding to 65 FECs that we did not fund in 2011-12.

Allocations from the 'margin' will be added to existing, or represent new, student number control limits for institutions in 2012-13. We will announce the full student number controls and associated funding for higher education in 2012-13 on 29 March 2012.


  1. For the past two years HEFCE has implemented a 'student number control' for the higher education sector in England, to ensure that universities and colleges do not over-recruit students to their courses. Following government proposals in the higher education White Paper, a new method will be adopted from 2012-13. On 17 October, HEFCE invited higher education and further education institutions to bid for student places from a 'margin' of up to 20,000 under a new student number control system for 2012-13. Margin places were made available to those universities and colleges charging an average, net annual tuition fee of 7,500 or less and meeting demand and quality criteria.
  2. Individual institutional allocations are available to download.

    Universities and colleges awarded margin places by HEFCE in 2012-13

    [ Download Universities and colleges awarded margin places by HEFCE in 2012-13 as MS Excel 39K ]

  3. Full details of the student number control system and the bidding process are in 'Student number controls for 2012-13 - Invitation to bid for student places' (HEFCE 2011/30). Institutions were advised that if the 20,000 places were over-subscribed HEFCE would reduce numbers pro rata. Allocations totalled 19,997 after the pro rata was applied.