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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Further education colleges

Key facts

241 FECs delivering higher education

75 per cent increase in foundation degrees since 2007-08

Entrants to HNDs have doubled since 2010-11

As at 13 March 2017, there were 241 further education or sixth form colleges (FECs) delivering higher education. This includes providers that are directly funded by HEFCE and those that deliver higher education through a sub-contractual arrangement.

A majority of students at FECs are registered on undergraduate courses other than first degrees, such as foundation degrees, HNDs and HNCs. In 2016-17 this was more than three-quarters of all undergraduate students taught at FECs.

There have been increases in the number of students starting courses at all levels at FECs in the past decade, but the relative increase has been greatest for foundation degrees. The number of students starting these courses was 75 per cent higher in 2016-17 than in 2007-08.

There has also been a large increase in entrants to HND courses. The number of students starting HNDs increased by 10 per cent in 2016-17 compared with the previous year, and the number of entrants has more than doubled since 2010-11.

The scale of provision of higher education at FECs varies across regions. Accounting for population size, roughly three times as many students register on higher education courses in FECs in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber than in the London, South East and East of England regions.

Page last updated 23 March 2017