The consultation asks for views on a more flexible approach to the student number control [Note 1]. It has been developed in the context of the Government’s reforms to the funding and regulation of higher education in England [Note 2].
Each year HEFCE sets a student number control allocation for each institution it funds. The purpose of the control is to help manage public expenditure on higher education, while furthering the Government’s vision for a more diverse, dynamic higher education system that supports student choice and enables popular institutions to grow. For 2013-14, HEFCE is enabling universities and colleges to recruit to a certain level above their allocation without incurring a reduction in the grant they receive. In addition, students holding certain qualifications with high grades (currently set at ABB or above at A-level or certain equivalent qualifications) are exempt from the control.
The Government has asked HEFCE to consider how to increase this flexibility for 2014-15 and beyond for institutions with strong recruitment patterns. We were also asked to consider whether there is scope to extend the population of exempt students while maintaining the high-grade threshold at ABB (or above) at A-level or certain equivalent qualifications [Note 3].
The consultation asks for views on three aspects of the student number control: