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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

1.   This letter provides further guidance on the definition of 'old-regime' and 'new-regime' students in Table 7 of the 2011 Higher Education Students Early Statistics and Higher Education in Further Education: Students surveys.

2.   We published 'HESES11: Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey 2011-12' (HEFCE 2011/27) and 'HEIFES11: Higher Education in Further Education: Students Survey 2011-12' (HEFCE 2011/26) in September. These set out the aggregate student data we require, respectively, from higher education institutions and directly funded further education colleges to inform our allocations and monitoring of funding and student numbers for 2011-12 and 2012-13. In response to questions we have received from institutions, I am writing to provide further guidance on the definition of 'old-regime' and 'new-regime' students for the purposes of completing the new Table 7, which collects institutions' forecasts of student numbers in 2012-13.

3.   The Government has made clear, since November 2010, that the new tuition fee arrangements for the 2012-13 academic year will apply to all students starting higher education in that year, including those applying to go in 2011-12 who defer entry until 2012-13 (see House of Commons written answers from David Willetts to Dr Julian Huppert, 19 November 2010).

4.   We have been asked to provide advice on the treatment, for HEFCE funding purposes, of students who commence study in 2011-12, but then intermit early in the year to return in 2012 13: specifically, under what circumstances they might count as old-regime or new-regime students when they return in 2012-13.

5.   We are therefore providing the following clarification, which is being incorporated into the guidance in Annex Q of HESES11 and HEIFES11:

A student who commences study in 2011-12, but intermits within two weeks of starting and then returns to study in 2012-13 should be treated for the purposes of HESES and HEIFES as having deferred entry until 2012-13. They must therefore be recorded as 'new-regime' in 2012-13.

6.   This guidance is provided solely for HEFCE's funding purposes in order to ensure consistent treatment of institutions in distributing our fixed budget. We believe that, for HEFCE funding purposes, whether a student is treated as starting in the 2011-12 academic year should generally apply consistently in relation to both counting towards the 2011-12 student number control and being eligible to count as an old-regime student in 2012-13, who has continued study commenced in 2011-12. Once a student completes two weeks of study, a higher education institution is required to include them on their Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record and all institutions are required to count such students towards their 2011-12 student number control limit if they started HEFCE-fundable or employer co-funded full-time undergraduate or Postgraduate/Professional Graduate Certificate in Education study. Once they have counted in such a way in 2011-12, it may then be appropriate to record them as 'old-regime' in 2012-13, subject to them meeting the requirements to be 'continuing', on an 'end-on course' or 'transferring', as defined in HESES and HEIFES Annex Q.

7.   Institutions should ensure they advise students appropriately about the impact of their decisions in 2011-12 on their liability to pay particular fees in 2012-13 and beyond, including in response to any guidance or decisions from Government or the Student Loans Company.

Yours sincerely

Sir Alan Langlands
Chief Executive

Date: 20 October 2011

Ref: Circular letter 24/2011

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Planning, Finance