Changes to teaching funding and student number controls in 2013-14 and beyond

Frequently asked questions

These questions relate to changes to the way we fund teaching and allocate student numbers beginning in 2013-14. This followed the second stage of our consultation on changes to teaching funding. 

Last updated 12 December 2012

  1. What did this stage of the consultation cover?
  2. Why was the consultation in stages?
  3. What decisions were made following the second stage of the consultation?
  4. What will be the policy for student number controls in 2013-14 onwards?
  5. Will 2012-13 entrants be eligible for funding in price group C1?
  6. What are the aims of the policies HEFCE consulted on?
  7. My college was allocated its first directly funded places through the core and margin process. Can we continue to recruit ‘fee only’ or ‘off quota’ students?
  8. How can I tell whether a top-up student belongs to the old or new regime for the purposes of funding and fees?
  9. How can I tell which students topping up from a level 5 qualification will not count against the student number control?
  10. How will HEFCE ensure that institutions are able to treat students with qualifications not included within the exemptions list fairly within their admissions processes?
  11. Further information

1. What did this stage of the consultation cover?

This stage of the consultation dealt with changes to HEFCE's funding of teaching and enhancement of the processes for allocation of student numbers from the academic year 2013-14 onwards.

Back to top

2. Why was the consultation in stages?

In the summer of 2011 we consulted on interim changes to teaching funding and student number controls for the academic year 2012-13. This was in light of the short-term need for funding arrangements to be in place so that higher education (HE) providers could plan effectively.

The majority of students in the system in 2012-13 are still those who entered under the old finance arrangements. By 2013-14, however, the position will have shifted and so the second stage of the consultation focused on the academic years 2013-14 onwards.

Back to top

3. What decisions were made following the second stage of the consultation?

The majority of the responses we received agreed with our proposals. So we intend to implement our policies largely as proposed. We have made some alterations because respondents suggested ways in which we might modify certain policies or initiatives.

In the following areas we plan to go ahead as the consultation document describes:

  1. Continuation of the entrant control.
  2. Support for high-cost subjects.
  3. Our transitional approach to support for postgraduate provision.
  4. An approach based on the Transparent Approach to Costing for Teaching to inform the development of the future funding method.
  5. Support for part-time undergraduate provision in high-cost subjects only.
  6. Funding for flexible provision.
  7. Contributions towards the additional operational costs of London-based providers.
  8. Student opportunity funding.
  9. Support for strategically important and vulnerable subjects.
  10. Our approach to data reporting and monitoring.

More information is available in the outcomes document (HEFCE 2012/19).

Back to top

4. What will be the policy for student number controls in 2013-14 onwards?

From 2013-14 onwards, we will:

  • Continue to control undergraduate and PGCE student numbers based on numbers of entrants into HE.
  • Exclude students achieving ABB+ at A-level or certain equivalent qualifications from the student number control. See the list of exempt qualifications.
  • Continue with a minimum protected core for the most selective institutions.  But this will differ from the 2012-13 model. The core will be set by taking an institution’s actual 2011-12 non-ABB+ equivalent and non-medical/dental student numbers within the student number control population plus 10 per cent, or 20 per cent of their total 2011-12 recruitment of non-medical/dental students that come within the 2011-12 student number control population definition.
  • We propose to monitor and review average course durations, but we do not envisage making immediate changes. But we still consider that this area poses a risk to the Government’s liability for student financial support. In the longer term, we do not plan to make annual changes to institutions’ student number controls on the basis of small changes in their average course durations, but we reserve the right to make appropriate adjustments where our monitoring indicates that there have been significant changes in course length.
  • Work to the principles for determining qualifications equivalences set out in the second stage of the teaching funding consultation.
Back to top

5. Will 2012-13 entrants be eligible for funding in price group C1? 

Four subjects – archaeology, media studies, design and creative arts and information technology – which were not fundable in the 2012-13 academic year have been re-designated to fall within a new price group which will be fundable from 2013-14 onwards. 

Students who entered HE during the 2012-13 academic year are considered to be subject to the new fees and funding regime, and will be affected by this change to funding. Students in these subjects will therefore attract funding at the new price group C1 rate from 2013-14 onwards, despite not having attracted HEFCE funding in 2012-13.  

6. What are the aims of the policies HEFCE consulted on? 

Our overarching aim is to ensure a smooth transition to the new financial and regulatory arrangements set out in the Government's higher education White Paper, 'Students at the heart of the system'.

We have listened carefully to concerns expressed by respondents to the first stage of our consultation that substantial, simultaneous changes to funding and student number controls may create difficulties for students.

So we aim to limit financial volatility, minimise the administrative burden for institutions as far as possible, and allow time for the impact of the reforms to be better understood.

Back to top

7. My college was allocated its first directly funded places through the core and margin process. Can we continue to recruit ‘fee only’ or ‘off quota’ students?

When we fund a college directly, the college must meet the requirements of HEFCE funding. These include reporting through HEIFES and the submission of other data for public information purposes, student number control, an access agreement, if required and review by the Quality Assurance Agency. Colleges which have previously recruited students on a ‘fee only’ or ‘off quota’ basis should note that all their new students who meet our student number control definition will count against their control. Any recruitment beyond their student number control will result in grant reductions.  

Back to top

8. How can I tell whether a top-up student belongs to the old or new regime for the purposes of funding and fees?

For a top-up student to count as old-regime for HEFCE funding purposes, their honours programme needs to be in the same mode of study as the preceding qualification, and there should be no break in study. Guidance (including flowcharts and examples) can be found in Annex Q of  HESES12.

Data on old-regime students who top up at a different registering institution will be obtained through the process for calculating and reviewing allocations for old-regime students in 2012-13 and beyond, which is described in our first stage teaching funding and student number control consultation. Where these students count towards mainstream and/or non-mainstream allocations, this will be reflected in the funding which institutions receive.

For fee purposes, the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011 define whether a student is an end-on student, and therefore whether they belong to the old or the new regime. If a student is old-regime for HEFCE funding purposes they will normally also be old-regime as far as fees are concerned. But institutions should seek guidance from Student Finance England if they are not sure.

9. How can I tell which students topping up from a level 5 qualification will not count against the student number control?

The student number control will exclude those students topping up from a foundation degree or an HND to an honours degree programme not exceeding 1.3 years of full-time study (the QAA Foundation Degree qualification benchmark). This only applies if they have been full time and HEFCE-fundable in either of the preceding two academic years, at any institution.

 Students topping up from a DipHE, Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), or Higher National Certificate (HNC) qualifications will still be part of the control. Students studying for these qualifications do not typically top up to a degree. Transferring students, other than those topping-up, will still be part of the control.

10. How will HEFCE ensure that institutions are able to treat students with qualifications not included within the exemptions list fairly within their admissions processes?

In 2012-13 HEFCE provided the most selective institutions – those with over 80 per cent of their intake falling within the AAB+ exempt population – with an additional student number allocation, or ‘protected core’. This provided extra capacity for these institutions to ensure that applicants were not disadvantaged by the high grades policy during any stage of the admissions process, including confirmation, adjustment and clearing.

For 2013-14 we will continue this approach for these institutions, by setting their student number control limit to the lower of either:

  • their actual 2011-12 non-ABB+ equivalent and non-medical/dental student numbers within the student number control population plus 10 per cent
  • 20 per cent of their total 2011-12 recruitment of non-medical/dental students that come within the 2011-12 student number control population definition.

Institutions can appeal against their limit if they feel it does not allow them to offer fair access to all applicants. 

Further information

For further information please contact Dave Norman (tel 0117 931 7095) or Nicholas Dibley (tel 0117 931 7414), or contact us via e-mail at tfundingconsultation@hefce.ac.uk.

Share this: