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Message from Alan Langlands, Chief Executive (April 2013)

08 April 2013

March is the month when we announce our annual allocation of recurrent grant, and the reduction in grant compared with a year ago is in line with changes arising from the reform of higher education funding.

The allocation of £4.47 billion to universities and colleges for the 2013-14 academic year includes £2.3 billion for teaching and £1.6 billion for research. We will continue to invest on behalf of students, to support quality and diversity in teaching, world-leading research and knowledge exchange, and we remain committed to ensuring a continued smooth transition to the new funding arrangements.

We have also published a report giving an early analysis of the impact of the 2012 changes to higher education funding. Using data from UCAS, HESA and other sources, the report flags up some potential issues for concern, such as a decline in take-up of part-time courses. We invite comment on the report via our web-site, and intend to follow it up in 12 months with more robust data that will provide an ongoing picture of the impact of the reforms.

Our review of university and college finances showed that overall the sector was in a sound financial position, and likely to remain so in 2012-13. It is encouraging to see evidence that the financial health of universities and colleges remains strong, not least because of their vital role in supporting economic, social and cultural development. However, 2011-12 saw the first real-terms reductions on record in total income for universities, and 2012-13 forecasts suggest that the sector will see a sharp fall in surpluses. The sector is responding well to these changes, maintaining the quality of education, and the competitiveness of research.

Finally, I will be leaving HEFCE on 30 September 2013 to take up my new post as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds.  I have greatly enjoyed my time at HEFCE, and I will miss my day-to-day interactions with HEFCE staff, BIS colleagues, university leaders, and the leaders of the other national agencies and sector bodies. That said, l look forward to working at first hand with the students and staff in one of our great civic universities. 

Page last updated 9 April 2013

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