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Executive summary

Purpose

1. This document presents the outcomes from HEFCE’s in-year monitoring of the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) for 2013-14.

Key points

2. A total of 225 institutions participated in the NSP in 2013-14, and all participating institutions submitted an in-year monitoring return which contained information on:

  • its NSP allocation
  • how many entrants have received or are due to receive an award
  • the manner in which awards are being made
  • NSP expenditure (including the matched funding element)
  • any institutional criteria used in addition to the national criteria.

3. This report relates to in-year monitoring for 2013-14, meaning that the data returned contained a mixture of actual expenditure and funding committed for delivery throughout the remainder of the academic year. The final figures for the number and characteristics of the students who received an NSP award in 2013-14 will be known in January 2015, once individualised data returns have been collected.

4. The total NSP funding forecast to be committed for the 2013-14 cohort was £225,525,756. Additional matched funding was committed by 66 of the 225 participating institutions totalling £30,509,013. Fifteen institutions forecast an  underspend against their combined government allocation and matched funding totalling £2,162,200, although this position may change as institutions continue to make NSP awards through the academic year. Where institutions forecast an underspend, HEFCE made immediate contact in order to ensure that institutions were putting measures in place to allocate the funding to eligible students within the 2013-14 academic year (for example widening eligibility criteria, or increasing the marketing of the scheme).

5. The total number of students who have received or who are forecast to receive an NSP award in academic year 2013-14 is 59,606, which equates to 57,009 full-time equivalent (FTE) (a small number of part-time students are receiving the NSP pro-rata). The majority of the students (44,679) received some or all of their NSP award before 1 January 2014. The remainder are recorded as due to receive their whole first-year allocation between 1 January 2014 and the end of this academic year (31 July 2014).

6. Of the 225 institutions participating in the NSP, 136 (60.7 per cent) are delivering NSP awards to students in the first year only. The majority of institutions used their matched funding to increase the number of individual NSP awards made at £3,000 rather than increase the value of the award.

7. Institutions were permitted to apply their own set of criteria in addition to the national criteria, to ensure that awards were made to those students who would most benefit. A total of 182 institutions have added their own criteria to the national criteria in order to best direct the NSP and of these, 112 have prioritised their criteria to ensure that students from particular groups received NSP awards.

8. The majority of expenditure was allocated to fee waivers, worth a total of £121 million. Discounted accommodation or other similar institutional services were the second largest expenditure. In 39 institutions, recipients were given a choice in the way the award was given.

9. Overall, the in-year monitoring process was largely straightforward, with most institutions submitting returns to HEFCE without any issues. HEFCE encourages institutions to make early contact with the NSP team if they were experiencing problems with their NSP allocations or monitoring returns.

Action required

10. This report is for information.

Date: 9 September 2014

Ref: HEFCE 2014/18

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Widening Participation, The National Scholarship Programme, Finance

Enquiries should be directed to:

Kirsty Johnson, tel 0117 931 7443, e-mail k.johnson@hefce.ac.uk