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Dear Principal

1.   This letter notifies further education colleges (FECs) of the release of their summaries of funding and monitoring data. It also informs them of our plan to publish the funding data reconciliations later in the year. Last year these were released together as '2009-10 statistics derived from ILR data for monitoring and allocation of funding' (HEFCE 2011/14).

2.   Each FEC is expected to review these outputs, which were derived from the FEC’s Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data. Any FEC that wishes to inform us of any errors in their data may do so by submitting an action plan by 4 May 2012 (see paragraph 7).

3.   Colleges can access their data from today. We will write separately to the heads of colleges and HEIFES contacts to provide the necessary extranet access keys for the funding summaries.

4.   This information enables colleges to access data that underpins the widening participation (WP) and teaching enhancement and student success (TESS) elements of the 2012-13 grant announcement. The 2012-13 funding summaries that are available are:

  • 2012-13 WP allocations
  • 2012-13 TESS allocation

We also provide the HEIFES10 re-creation (individualised file only) output because some of the HEIFES re-creation derived fields are used to inform WP and TESS allocations.

5.   This release supersedes our previous combined publication of funding summaries and funding data reconciliations as '2009-10 statistics derived from ILR data for monitoring and allocation of funding' (HEFCE 2011/14). This year we have published the funding summaries earlier so that they may be considered in conjunction with the grant announcement; the funding data reconciliations will be published later in the year, to focus on reconciling differences between ILR data and other data that have been used to inform funding (such as the Higher Education in Further Education: Students Survey (HEIFES)). The data reconciliation exercise will require a response from those colleges selected to go through a reconciliation process.

6.   Some of the algorithms used to inform our funding allocations have changed. They were originally published in 'ILR funding and monitoring data 2010-11: web facility' (HEFCE Circular letter 22/2011, published in September 2011), and the changes are documented at Annex A.

7.   The funding summaries are provided for general information and to provide further transparency about our calculations. However, we expect colleges to review all the outputs that we have derived from their ILR data, with a view to understanding how their data are used for funding. As in previous years, if errors are identified in ILR data, colleges may inform us of these errors by submitting an action plan. The deadlines for submission of an action plan and sign-off for amendments are:

4 May 2012 Deadline for the submission of action plans
18 May 2012 Deadline for sign-off of ILR data amendments

8.   The provisional 2013-14 National Scholarship Programme (NSP) funding will be announced in a forthcoming circular letter, at which point the data that underpin the NSP calculations will also be made available.

How we allocate funding

9.   Our recurrent grants to FECs are almost entirely allocated by formula according to our expectations of what each institution will need for various activities and informed by data provided by colleges. Formula funding ensures we are fair, transparent and efficient in how we distribute grants to colleges.

10.   HEFCE has a fixed budget. Our funding methods are designed to ensure colleges receive an appropriate share of this budget, given the nature and level of their activities. To distribute this budget fairly between colleges, we need to check that colleges’ activities are reported in a consistent way. So, when we collect information on students, their course and attributes, we need to ensure these are reported against common definitions.

11.   Further information about how we fund colleges is in 'Guide to funding: how HEFCE allocates its funds' (HEFCE 2010/24) and in the individual grant letters for 2012-13 that have been issued under embargo to colleges today.

Further information

12.   Guidance is available on our web-site. Specific areas that may be of interest are:

  1. Extranet locations, deadlines and documentation can be found in the '2010-11 funding and monitoring data overview'.
  2. Further details about the preparation and submission of action plans can be found in the 'Guide to action plans'.
  3. Technical information (such as algorithms and problems of fit) are listed in the '2010-11 funding and monitoring data overview'.
  4. Further details about the funding summaries, including descriptions of allocation methods, can be found in the 'indicative funding summaries'.
  5. Information on how to obtain data from the HEFCE extranet can be found in the 'How to access outputs' guide.

13.   If you require further information contact Matthew Brind (tel 0117 931 7285, e-mail

Yours sincerely

Sir Alan Langlands
Chief Executive

Date: 19 March 2012

Ref: Circular letter 08/2012

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, planning, finance, audit

Enquiries should be directed to:

Matthew Brind, tel 0117 931 7285, e-mail