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The grant letter (note 1) sets out Government funding and priorities for HEFCE and for higher education for the second year of the new financial arrangements for higher education in England. The Government’s vision for higher education, outlined in the higher education white paper ‘Students at the heart of the system’, remains, and HEFCE is asked to continue to support learning and teaching activity, quality assurance, widening participation and an enhanced student experience. HEFCE will also continue our support for postgraduate provision.

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 2012-13.

The letter recognises the key role of higher education in driving economic growth, and asks us to focus our funding allocations on activities that support delivery of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

Following our implementation of the tariff and core and margin policies for 2012-13, the Government has requested that we go further in 2013-14 in freeing up more places from student number controls by allowing unrestrained recruitment of students with A-level grades of ABB or equivalent. To help minimise the risk of unfilled places in 2013-14, we are being asked to allow institutions to recruit up to 3 per cent above their total recruitment of HEFCE fundable students. This will allow institutions to avoid grant reductions for minor over-recruitment.

We will provide further information on the distribution of the grant following the HEFCE Board meeting on 31 January. Individual institutional grants will be published on 21 March.

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 continuing change in higher education.

'We will focus our efforts on supporting learning and teaching which is in the student and wider public interest, and continue to provide resources to support high-cost and strategic subjects, widening participation and student success and the work of small and specialist institutions. We will also continue to support research and innovation. 

'We welcome the Secretary of State's determination to promote and protect universities, recognising their positive benefits to the economy and society.'

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 billion to distribute for the 2013-14 financial year.
  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 2013-14 in the areas of:
    • teaching funding, quality and enhancing the student experience
    • science and research
    • higher education and growth
    • social mobility
    • efficiency
    • sustainability
    • equality and diversity.