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).
When a college becomes directly funded, it receives HEFCE funding to support a range of HE activities. Colleges sign a ‘funding agreement’ with HEFCE, which sets out ‘conditions of grant’. These conditions mean the college must comply with requirements, for which we hold the college directly responsible.
Most colleges do not have the power to award their own HE qualifications. So most directly funded colleges will deliver the course, but a separate awarding body will award the qualification. Where this happens, the awarding body will uphold the integrity of the qualification, but the students are registered (for funding and other regulatory purposes) at the college.
Direct funding also means that students at the college can access government loans and grants.
In the case of indirect funding, we fund (typically) a higher education institution, which franchises teaching to a college. This teaching arrangement takes the form of a contract in which the college (the ‘franchisee’) teaches students for the institution at which the students are registered (the ‘franchiser’).
In terms of funding and regulation, we treat these students as students of the institution at which they are registered. This means that this institution is responsible for the quality of the teaching and associated regulatory matters, such as data returns, relating to the student.