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The grant letter (note 1) confirms government funding and priorities for HEFCE and for higher education in a year when the new financial arrangements for higher education in England will be implemented. From 2012-13, universities and colleges will increasingly obtain their income for learning and teaching from publicly funded tuition fee loans. HEFCE's funding settlement reflects these new circumstances.

The letter asks HEFCE to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements in the interests of students and the public. It highlights HEFCE's role in supporting postgraduate students, and outlines the steps Ministers are taking to manage pressures on government budgets as a result of unanticipated student support costs.

The ring-fenced settlement for science and research means that we will be able to maintain overall funding for research at the same cash levels as for 2011-12.

We will provide further information on the distribution of the grant following the HEFCE Board meeting on 27 January. Individual institutional grants will be published on 22 March.

The Secretary of State will write again to confirm the Government’s policy on student number controls for 2013-14 and HEFCE will then consult on the implementation of this policy.

Tim Melville-Ross, Chair of HEFCE's Board, said:

'The Secretary of State's grant letter sets out guidance for HEFCE during a period of considerable change in higher education.

'In challenging financial times, we will focus our efforts on supporting activity which is in the student and wider public interest: providing resource, in line with the priorities set out in the letter, where it is most needed.

'We welcome the Secretary of State's recognition of the crucial part that universities and colleges are playing to support economic recovery.'

Notes

  1. HEFCE's annual grant letter from BIS sets out HEFCE's allocations for funding higher education, and the Government's priorities for the coming year. All HEFCE's annual grant letters can be read on the HEFCE web-site.
  2. The annex to the grant letter (Annex A) shows that HEFCE will have a total of £5,780 million to distribute for the 2012-13 financial year (lines c, e and i of the annex).
  3. Annex A also sets out funding for higher education across the broad areas of teaching, research and capital funding.
  4. The Government has outlined priorities for higher education in 2012-13 in the areas of:
    • teaching funding
    • social mobility
    • enhancing the student experience
    • science and research
    • postgraduate students
    • efficiency
    • reducing burdens from data collection
    • sustainability.