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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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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Applications for the direct funding gateway have now closed. Further education colleges that wish to become directly funded from 2019-20 need to register with the Office for Students (OfS).

See more about how new applicants can register with the OfS

Conditions of direct funding

We require colleges in a direct funding relationship with HEFCE to complete a number of annual data returns. This is a condition of the funds which we allocate to them. They must also meet a series of other requirements.

Case studies: HEIFES

See two examples that offer advice and tips on completing HEIFES.

Read more

We set out funding arrangements with individual institutions each year. This is known as the ‘funding agreement’. We send a funding agreement specifically for colleges over the summer.

The funding agreement sets out:

  • the common terms and conditions which apply to all colleges funded by HEFCE
  • the conditions specific to the college
  • a schedule of funds we will allocate in the academic year
  • the programme of HE which the college has agreed to run in return for the funds.

The agreement also makes it clear that the college needs to submit annual data returns.

More information about the funding agreement (under ‘July 2014 announcement’) 

So what do colleges have to do?


1. Complete the Higher Education in Further Education: Students survey (HEIFES)

Each year, HEFCE-funded colleges must return the Higher Education in Further Education: Students survey (HEIFES). The survey captures data on HE students reported in particular categories, which we use to inform funding allocations.

Colleges need to complete and return the survey in November. Further guidance, including funding definitions, is available in the HEIFES guidance document and from slides used in the 2014 training seminars.

Individualised Learner Record (ILR)

The Skills Funding Agency collect learner data from publicly funded further education colleges in the Individualised Learner Record (ILR). We use ILR data to re-create colleges’ HEIFES returns in order to adjust funding.

See more in our funding and monitoring data pages.

2. Provide information about HE programmes

All colleges which are directly funded must also provide specific information about their HE programmes:

a. Key Information Set (KIS) data 
We publish ‘Key Information Sets’ (KIS) about each course that we fund for the benefit of prospective students. The college must supply these data, and also embed on each of its relevant course web pages, the ‘KIS widget’. The widget shows a summary of the KIS for the course and incorporates a link to the full published KIS on the Unistats website.

See more about KIS

Read more information and guidance on the KIS submission process for colleges

b. National Student Survey (NSS)
We run the NSS to gather students’ opinions on the quality of their courses. All directly funded colleges must submit student contact details so the Council, or its agents, can run the survey.

See more about NSS

c. Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 
The DLHE collects information on what leavers from HE programmes are doing six months after qualifying from their course. Colleges must fund their own participation in the survey (either through HEFCE’s framework contractor, by managing the survey themselves, or through forming consortia with other institutions), and submit data on the destination of their recent graduates through the HEFCE extranet.

See more about DLHE

Read more information for colleges on carrying out the DLHE

See more about the provision of information

Page last updated 18 August 2017