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Student number controls for 2012-13: Invitation to bid for student places

Frequently asked questions

These questions relate to the core and margin bidding process for student places in academic year 2012-13.

'Student number controls for 2012-13: Invitation to bid for student places' (HEFCE 2011/30) invited applications and set out further information on the process and operation of the student number controls in 2012-13.

Last updated 1 November 2011

1. Why is the timetable for bidding shorter than that proposed in the consultation ('Teaching funding and student number controls: Consultation on changes to be implemented in 2012-13', HEFCE 2011/20)?

Many respondents to that consultation requested that we confirm allocations from the margin and student number control limits earlier than the proposed date of March 2012. In response, we have brought forward the date by which we will confirm these allocations to early February 2012, ahead of our formal March grant announcement. This means that the bidding period has to be reduced to enable us to seek final approval for allocations at our Board meeting on 27 January 2012.

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2. Can institutions submit more than one bid?

No. We will only accept one bid per lead institution. However, a college may make a bid for numbers, and also be listed as a franchise recipient in other bids. If a higher education institution (HEI) wants to bid for numbers for itself and for numbers to franchise out, it would only need one bid to do this.

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3. Can a further education college (FEC) providing higher education through a franchise arrangement with an HEI bid for places from the margin through the HEI, without needing to seek its own access agreement with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA)?

No. Such an FEC would have two options:

  • it may bid for its own numbers on courses, which could then be validated by an HEI; in this case the FEC would need its own access agreement if charging fees of over £6,000.

or

  • the HEI could bid for numbers, and state in its bid that it intends to franchise out some of the numbers to an FEC. In this case, the FEC does not need to apply for an access agreement, because the HEI is the responsible organisation.

Please note that we can only accept bids from publicly funded, designated HEIs or FECs. We cannot accept bids from separate university campuses, wholly owned subsidiary companies, charities or other private providers in 2012-13. If in any doubt please contact HEFCE for clarification.

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4. Does HEFCE require specific calculations for the average fee level?

No. We will not make our own calculations for each institution either. Institutions should provide the figure for the average fee and offer a brief rationale so that we can be assured that the fee level is accurate. The average fee level must take account of the detailed criteria set out in Annex B, paragraph 6 of HEFCE 2011/30. Institutions should ensure that the fee level is reasonable and achievable, and that commitments made in their OFFA access agreements can be met.

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5. Will HEFCE be measuring the average fee based on all entrants recruited in 2012-13, including student numbers awarded from the margin?

Yes.

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6. How much detail is required in Annex C (the bidding spreadsheet)? Do we have to list all the courses we intend to provide?

No. We do not require this level of information. We will accept bids for growth and from institutions seeking to replace numbers lost as a result of the calculation to create the margin and AAB+ equivalent population. We only require course-level information in the following circumstances:

  • if the bid is from an FEC that we currently do not directly fund which is bidding for any provision in price group B, because we will provide funding for these high-cost subjects in 2012-13 and we require this information in order to be able to fund the provision if the bid is successful.
  • if the institution is seeking numbers to provide a specific course – for example, a course for which demand is particularly high, or for SIV or STEM subjects. This should relate back to the information provided in Annex B.

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