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Executive summary


1. We have a funding agreement with each institution that we fund, which specifies targets relating to student numbers. This document explains what action we will take if institutions do not meet their targets for 2008-09.

Key points

2. Within our funding agreements with institutions, we specify three targets that apply to student numbers funded through our mainstream teaching funding, although these targets will not all apply to every institution. They are:

  1. The contract range. Under our funding method for teaching, we calculate a standard level of resource for each institution, and an assumed resource (actual HEFCE teaching grant plus an assumption of income from fees). The percentage difference between assumed and standard resource for the academic year 2008-09 must be within a given range - known as the contract range.

  2. Funding conditional upon delivery of growth. This applies to institutions that are expected to increase student numbers in 2008-09, as a result of being awarded mainstream additional funded places. Funding for those places is contingent upon institutions actually recruiting additional students to fill the places.

  3. The contract full-time equivalent (CFTE) number for students on undergraduate medical and dental courses to which a quota applies, setting minimum numbers.

3. These measures are designed:

  1. To maintain broadly comparable resource levels per student so that the quality of the student experience is not put at risk.

  2. To ensure that funds allocated for expansion do indeed deliver additional places.

  3. To ensure that the intended number of medical and dental students required to meet national needs is delivered, in return for the exceptionally high level of funding provided for such students.

4. To achieve these objectives we will withhold grant from an institution which:

  1. Is found to have a level of assumed resource which takes it above its contract range.

  2. Does not deliver the growth expected in 2008-09 - arising from an award of mainstream additional funded places.

  3. Under-recruits against its CFTEs for medicine and dentistry.

5. Where an institution is found to be below its contract range, we will want to discuss the reasons with the institution, and to receive an action plan setting out how the institution will ensure it comes within the range in 2009-10. We expect that institutions will then take the necessary action to bring numbers into line with their targets.

6. In addition to the targets and monitoring arrangements that apply to our mainstream teaching grant, we are also funding some student numbers outside our mainstream teaching allocations. These include allocations for some Lifelong Learning Networks and for co-funded employer engagement. These allocations are subject to separate arrangements for monitoring and grant adjustments.

7. In relation to paragraphs 4-6, before taking any action we will give institutions an opportunity to tell us about any material changes in definitions or mitigating factors that may have influenced the calculated level of holdback.

8. If an institution does not recruit any students in 2008-09 then all funding for teaching allocated for 2008-09 will be held back.

Action required

9. No response is required. 

Date: 1 July 2008

Ref: 2008/20

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Finance, Student data, Planning

Enquiries should be directed to:

By e-mail to or to HEFCE higher education advisers