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17 October 2011

Student number controls for 2012-13

HEFCE has today (17 October) published information on the new approach it will use to implement the control on the number of full-time students that universities and colleges can recruit for 2012-13. This includes information about the process for bidding for 20,000 places which will be redistributed.

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.

The method will include a ‘margin’ of up to 20,000 places that universities and colleges can bid for. To be eligible to bid for the numbers they will have to charge an average net fee of £7,500 or less, as well as meeting other criteria. It will also remove institutional limits on the number of students who can be admitted who obtain grades at or higher than AAB at A-level (or their equivalent).

This announcement follows HEFCE’s consultation on funding for teaching, which included questions on how it should allocate student numbers in 2012-13 (‘Teaching funding and student number controls: Consultation on changes to be implemented in 2012-13’, HEFCE 2011/20).

Consultation on funding teaching

At its October 2011 meeting the HEFCE Board considered responses to the consultation, and ways of addressing some of the concerns raised, and agreed a number of changes to the original proposals for implementing the student number controls in 2012-13. Decisions include:

  • offering protection to universities and colleges specialising in the creative and performing arts
  • protecting strategically important and vulnerable subjects.

The consultation also addressed proposed changes to the funding method for teaching. The Board agreed that the proposals on funding of old- and new-regime students and on targeted allocations should be implemented as in the consultation, but approved one exception. The change will introduce a temporary allocation for 2012-13 only to ensure that institutions do not see a reduction in London weighting for old- and new-regime students compared to 2011-12. HEFCE will publish the outcomes from the full consultation, including the decisions about teaching funding, in November. The second stage of the consultation on teaching funding and student number controls for 2013-14 onwards is planned for February 2012.

Further information, including how institutions can bid for the student numbers, is available in ‘Student number controls for 2012-13: invitation to bid for student places’ (HEFCE 2011/30).