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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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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The letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) asks HEFCE to implement further changes to the student number controls in line with the Government’s aims, set out in the White Paper, of increasing dynamism and student choice (note 1). 

ABB+ policy

Following the removal of controls from students with grades of AAB or higher at A-level or equivalent qualifications for 2012-13, the Government have announced a broadening of this approach for 2013-14 to include students with grades at ABB or above and equivalent qualifications. In the light of significant and increasing pressures on BIS budgets, the letter from the Secretary of State asks HEFCE to exercise caution in its estimation of the numbers of students in the ABB+ population in order to reduce the risk of unanticipated student support costs.

Core and margin

HEFCE has been asked to run a second core and margin exercise following the allocation of 20,000 places in 2012-13. 5,000 places will be available in 2013-14. A majority of these places will be awarded to institutions with an average net charge of £7,500 or below, but the Government has stipulated that a sizeable minority should be available for institutions charging between £7,500 and £8,250. HEFCE has also been asked to support existing HEI/FEC partnerships. We also anticipate making some places available to FECs who do not currently have any directly-funded full-time student numbers.

In implementing these changes HEFCE will seek, wherever possible, to minimise disruption to students and institutions and enable as smooth and timely an admissions process to be run as can be achieved. We will contact institutions about next steps as soon as possible. Meanwhile, institutions submitting Access Agreements for approval by OFFA in May may wish to note the guidance in the letter about the distribution of the margin numbers to differing fee levels.


  1.  The letter is available below. The White Paper, ‘Students at the heart of the system' can be found at
  2. The following briefing note by HEFCE summarises the changes to the core and margin aspect of the student number control in 2013-14, as set out in the Government’s letter to HEFCE of 27 April.

    Student number controls policy for 2013-14: clarification of ‘core and margin’ numbers