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This funding is allocated for the following key areas and activities:

  • £2.3 billion for teaching
  • £1.6 billion for research
  • £160 million for knowledge exchange
  • £280 million in capital grants
  • £149 million in special funding.

Further details are given in ‘Recurrent grants and student number controls for 2013-14’ (HEFCE 2013/05).

HEFCE’s priorities for funding

HEFCE will continue to invest on behalf of students and the wider public to promote opportunity, choice and excellence in higher education. Our funding supports quality and diversity in learning and teaching, widening participation and student retention, and world-leading research and knowledge exchange activity. We remain committed to the Government’s reforms, ensuring a smooth transition to the new funding arrangements, and implementing them in a way that makes sense for students and the wider higher education community.

Teaching funding

In the transition from ‘old-regime’ to ‘new-regime’ funding, HEFCE teaching funding will increasingly be targeted to meet costs incurredby universities which cannot be covered by tuition fees alone: support for widening participation and student retention, high-cost subjects, institutions with high-cost and distinctive provision, and strategically important and vulnerable subjects. This year’s allocations reflect the continuing shift from old-regime to new-regime students, with a small increase in the rate of funding (around 1 per cent) for existing students and 2013-14 entrants.

  • Research funding is maintained in cash terms. HEFCE will fund research selectively, focusing on world-leading and internationally excellent activity. Support for universities undertaking research funded by charities (£198 million), or business and industry (£64 million), will also be maintained at current levels. We remain the largest single source of research funds for universities in the UK.
  • Postgraduate students: Around £130 million will be allocated to support students undertaking postgraduate taught programmes for 2013-14. Postgraduate research students are supported through the research degree programme supervision fund which will be maintained at its highest level of £240 million.
  • Knowledge exchange between universities and business continues to make a significant contribution to economic recovery and growth. Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), which supports a wide range of high-performance knowledge-based activity, has been supplemented by £10 million in 2013-14, resulting in a total figure of £160 million.
  • HEFCE’s capital and special funding helps to sustain national programmes and facilities such as Jisc (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee) and other national agencies, high-performance computing, museums and galleries, and environmental sustainability initiatives including the Revolving Green Fund.
  • Our Catalyst Fund will drive excellence and innovation in higher education by funding initiatives which support economic growth or lead to step-changes in priority areas such as student engagement and success, and learning and teaching. The fund will also, where necessary, support universities and colleges to manage the transition to the new funding arrangements ensuring no detriment to students.

The overall level of government support for higher education will increase through the combination of direct government grant funding and increased publicly funded student loans, which have been introduced as part of the new finance arrangements.

Student number control 2013-14

Universities and colleges have been informed of their student number control limits for 2013-14. This year around a third of students, those with A-level grades of ABB+ or certain equivalent qualifications (Note), are exempt from the student number control, meaning that universities and colleges can recruit as many of these students as they want and are able to; another 5,000 student places have been allocated through the ‘core and margin’ policy. Institutions will also be entitled to exceed their student number control allocation by up to 3 per cent of their total 2012-13 recruitment without incurring a reduction to their HEFCE grant. These initiatives are intended to meet the Government’s twin aims of increasing dynamism and improving student choice, while maintaining control of the student support budget.

Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:

‘This year’s funding announcement, made against a background of responsible financial stewardship in the sector, offers predictability at a time of change. It provides a 1 per cent increase in the rate of funding for students while retaining the same cash levels for research and innovation.

‘As HEFCE funding for teaching reduces, and university income through tuition fee loans increases, we will continue to invest on behalf of students to support excellence and diversity in learning and teaching, and a high-quality student experience. We remain committed to ensuring that people with the potential to benefit from participation in higher education have the opportunity to do so.

'Investment in university research is maintained to ensure the creation of new knowledge and its application for economic and social progress. Our research funding not only underpins the research infrastructure, but also allows universities to carry out critical “blue-skies” research which might not otherwise be funded. The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has enabled us to invest in areas that business has identified as promising and where there is a strong, economically significant research base on which to build. Funding for knowledge exchange is targeted for economic growth through research commercialisation activities.

‘Our recent report on the impact of the Government’s reforms on students and institutions reveals a mixed picture. There are signs of increased dynamism, as institutions refine their strategies and educational programmes to respond to the funding changes. A number of pressing issues are emerging in relation to part-time and postgraduate recruitment. There are early signs of subject vulnerability, and a marked decline in numbers of mature students which suggests that we will need to be alert to changes in participation, in particular by disadvantaged groups.

‘HEFCE remains committed to promoting the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge, and to supporting successive generations of students, the wider academic community and the positive contribution that higher education makes to the economy and society.’

Notes

  1. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) grant letter to HEFCE of 11 January 2013 sets out the total HEFCE grant for the financial year (April to March) of 2013-14 as £5 billion. HEFCE allocates funding to universities and colleges by academic year, from 1 August each year.
  2. See the exemptions list
  3. A summary of 2013-14 grant tables is available.