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Dear Principal

Capital funding for directly funded further education colleges: 2014-15

1. This letter sets out the allocation of capital funding for learning and teaching infrastructure in those further education colleges (FECs) funded directly by HEFCE, for the financial year 2014-15. No action is required in response.

2. A total of £7.74 million is available to fund activity undertaken from April 2014 until March 2015. These funds will be paid automatically in three instalments, in August 2014, November 2014 and February 2015.

Purpose of the funds

3. These allocations of capital funding are to enhance the learning experience of higher education (HE) students at FECs, by helping raise the quality of their HE learning and teaching facilities. We expect colleges to use the funds in ways that will most effectively support their strategy for HE. The funds may contribute towards:

  • investment in equipment used in learning, teaching and e-learning, particularly information technology (IT) related equipment
  • replacement of premises for learning and teaching
  • refurbishment of existing teaching spaces, particularly involving IT-related enhancements, including improvements to internal IT networks or supporting infrastructure.

4. The funds should be used for HE provision, and may be subject to audit in the normal way. We recognise, however, that it may be neither feasible nor desirable to create ring-fenced boundaries between HE and further education (FE). Thus, for example, equipment purchased using these funds may be used by both HE and FE students. We look to colleges to adopt a pragmatic approach, whereby projects primarily focus on HE even if there are links with, and marginal spin-off benefits for, FE.

5. In deciding how these funds are spent we expect colleges to take account of the need to reduce carbon emissions as well as securing value for money.

Eligibility and allocations

6. This is not a competitive bidding process. As with previous allocations of capital funds to colleges, we have a formula for distributing funds that is consistent with our wider policies for funding FECs. In relation to the use of this capital funding, we would encourage collaboration between institutions, while supporting diversity of provision. Additionally, through this funding we want to help strengthen HE portfolios in the larger HE providers and where there are networks connecting HE providers

7. The allocations for each directly funded FEC are listed at Annex A.

8. In April 2015 we shall request information from colleges on how the funds have been used, via a monitoring return. These returns may be subject to audit. If we are not satisfied that the funds have been used for the purposes described in paragraph 3, we may seek to reclaim some or all of the funding provided.

Yours sincerely

Professor Madeleine Atkins

Chief Executive

Date: 29 May 2014

Ref: Circular letter 14/2014

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Finance, Estates, Information technology

Enquiries should be directed to:

Donna Iafrati, tel 0117 931 7357, e-mail d.iafrati@hefce.ac.uk