Consultation launched on future arrangements for student number controls

03 May 2013

HEFCE is asking for views on its proposals on controlling student numbers from 2014-15 onwards.

The consultation asks for views on a more flexible approach to the student number control [Note 1]. It  has been developed in the context of the Government’s reforms to the funding and regulation of higher education in England [Note 2].

Each year HEFCE sets a student number control allocation for each institution it funds. The purpose of the control is to help manage public expenditure on higher education, while furthering the Government’s vision for a more diverse, dynamic higher education system that supports student choice and enables popular institutions to grow. For 2013-14, HEFCE is enabling universities and colleges to recruit to a certain level above their allocation without incurring a reduction in the grant they receive. In addition, students holding certain qualifications with high grades (currently set at ABB or above at A-level or certain equivalent qualifications) are exempt from the control.

The Government has asked HEFCE to consider how to increase this flexibility for 2014-15 and beyond for institutions with strong recruitment patterns. We were also asked to consider whether there is scope to extend the population of exempt students while maintaining the high-grade threshold at ABB (or above) at A-level or certain equivalent qualifications [Note 3].

The consultation asks for views on three aspects of the student number control:

  • the future operation of flexibility
  • bringing publicly-funded providers of higher education not currently in a direct relationship with HEFCE into the student number control system
  • exempting certain combinations of qualification types from the student number control.


  1. 'Student number controls Consultation on arrangements for 2014-15 onwards' (2013/10) is on the HEFCE web-site. It closes at 1700 on Friday 28 June 2013. Consultation events will be held on Monday 20 May 2013 and Thursday 30 May 2013. Stakeholders have been invited to these events – if you would like to request a place (should any become available) contact us via
  2. The Government's White Paper consultation ‘Higher education: students at the heart of the system’ is available.
  3. HEFCE’s guide to the student number controls and the letter from the Minister on plans for 2014-15.

Page last updated 3 May 2013

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