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Further education and sixth form& colleges should upload updates and action plans to the HEFCE extranet by Friday 26 June 2015.
Data amendments should be signed off by Friday 17 July 2015.

Dear Principal

ILR funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2013-14: Funding summaries and request for updates to completion status data

1. This letter provides further education and sixth form colleges with further information about how we have used their Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data (submitted to the Skills Funding Agency) to inform funding allocations for 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.

2. This letter also asks colleges to provide an update for students whose completion status was reported as undetermined in their 2013-14 ILR R14 return. Updates should be uploaded to the HEFCE extranet by Friday 26 June 2015 (see paragraph 12).

3. We are also making available a number of funding summary outputs which will assist colleges in understanding how their ILR data have been used. If, on considering the outputs, colleges identify errors in the ILR data, they may wish to correct the version of their ILR data that we hold on our systems by submitting an action plan by Friday 26 June 2015 (see paragraph 6).

4. Colleges can access their funding summaries from today. We will write separately to the heads of colleges and Higher Education in Further Education: Students (HEIFES) survey contacts, to provide the necessary access keys to the HEFCE extranet.

Funding summaries

5. The funding summaries contain data that have been used to calculate:

  • 2013-14 funding for old-regime students (mainstream)
  • 2013-14 high-cost funding for new-regime students
  • 2013-14 funding for old-regime students (co-funded)
  • 2015-16 Student Opportunity (SO) allocation
  • 2014-15 and 2015-16 final National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) allocation [Note 1]
  • 2015-16 final Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS) allocation [Note 1]

6. The funding summaries are provided for general information and to bring further transparency to our calculations. We expect colleges to review their outputs with a view to understanding how their data are used to inform funding. As in previous years, colleges may inform us of any errors they identify in their ILR data by submitting an action plan. The deadlines for submission of an action plan and sign-off for amendments are as follows.

Friday 26 June 2015     Deadline for the submission of action plans.

Friday 17 July 2015      Deadline for sign-off of 2013-14 ILR data amendments.

7. These deadlines will ensure that we can consider whether any changes to ILR data should be reflected in the amended funding allocations to be issued to institutions in October 2015. It is unlikely that we will be able to incorporate responses received after these deadlines in the October 2015 announcement.

8. We originally published the algorithms used to generate the funding summaries in ‘Individualised Learner Record funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2013-14: Web facility’ (HEFCE Circular letter 27/2014). However, we have made some minor changes where we believe improvements are appropriate. Details of these changes are provided in the annex to this letter.

Completion status survey

9. It is appropriate for the completion status for some students to be reported as ‘undetermined’ on the ILR return. This occurs when a student has not yet completed their year of study, but is not defined as having ‘non-completed’ because the student is:

  • on a non-standard year (that is, a year of study that spans two academic years)
  • expected to undergo their final assessment within 13 months of the start of their year of study, these 13 months not having passed by the time the ILR return is compiled.

10. In the absence of a definitive completion status, we have assumed in our provisional funding calculations that such students have completed their year of study. We are asking colleges to update the completion status of any students reported in their 2013-14 ILR R14 with an undetermined completion status (FUNDCOMP = 3) via a 2013-14 Completion Status Survey (CSS).

11. In finalising 2013-14 teaching grants for the October 2015 grant announcement, and for grant recalculations for subsequent years, we will replace our completion assumptions with the information returned in the 2013-14 CSS. Where colleges do not return the 2013-14 CSS, we will assume all such students on the 2013-14 ILR are non-completions and will not therefore count them towards our funding allocations.

12. The 2013-14 CSS workbook, containing pre-filled data for each HEFCE-fundable or employer co‑funded student in the HEIFES population who has been returned as FUNDCOMP = 3, can be downloaded from the HEFCE extranet (https://data.hefce.ac.uk/). We will write separately to the heads of colleges and HEIFES contacts with the necessary access keys for the survey. Colleges will need to update the ‘Updated FUNDCOMP’ column and upload the completed workbook to the same web-site. The deadlines for submission and sign-off of the updated completion status return are as follows.

Friday 26 June 2015     Deadline for the submission of the updated CSS return.

Friday 17 July 2015      Deadline for sign-off.

How we allocate funding

13. Further information about how we fund colleges is provided in the individual grant letters that have been issued to colleges.

Relationship with ‘ILR FAMD 2013-14: Funding data reconciliations’

14. We also use ILR data to monitor other returns that inform funding and student number control allocations, such as HEIFES. We will separately release these funding data reconciliations later this year, and may ask colleges to provide explanations for any discrepancies that we identify.

15. The release of the funding data reconciliations will be in two phases. The first, in May 2015, will not incorporate colleges’ responses to the 2013-14 CSS. Therefore, as part of the first phase, we will only contact those colleges where we assess that any differences between the two data sources are not primarily due to the completion status assumptions (for students reported against FUNDCOMP = 3). The second phase will be released later this year and will incorporate colleges’ responses to the 2013-14 CSS.

Further information

16. General FAMD guidance is available on our web-site (www.hefce.ac.uk/data/famd/help/). Specific areas that may be of interest are as follows.

  1. Extranet locations, deadlines and documentation can be found in the ‘2013-14 funding and monitoring data overview’ (www.hefce.ac.uk/data/famd/latest/).
  2. Further details about the preparation and submission of action plans can be found in the ‘Guide to action plans’ (www.hefce.ac.uk/data/famd/help/guide/).
  3. Technical information (such as algorithms) is listed in the ‘2013-14 funding and monitoring data overview’ (www.hefce.ac.uk/data/famd/latest/).
  4. Further details about the funding summaries, including descriptions of some allocation methods, can be found in the ‘Indicative funding summaries’ (www.hefce.ac.uk/data/famd/indicative/).
  5. Information on how to obtain data from the HEFCE extranet can be found in the ‘How to access outputs’ guide (www.hefce.ac.uk/data/famd/help/output/).

17. Institutions are reminded that the individualised data made available through this exercise are covered by the Data Protection Act. These data are only accessible to someone holding the HEFCE extranet key which we will provide to heads of college and HEIFES contacts for colleges. Colleges should ensure that extranet keys are not passed to anyone without a legitimate reason to access the individualised data.

18. If you require further information contact Matthew Lorimer (tel 0117 931 7291, e-mail ilr_heifes_stats@hefce.ac.uk).

Yours sincerely

Professor Madeleine Atkins

Chief Executive


Note

1. The adjustments to the NNCO and PSS allocations are primarily based on 2012-13 ILR data, rather than 2013-14 ILR data. We have included them here so that colleges can access the underlying data for all recent announcements of funding allocations informed by ILR data at a single location on the HEFCE extranet. As the NNCO and PSS allocations are now finalised, amendments to 2012-13 ILR data cannot be made for the purposes of amending these allocations.

Date: 26 March 2015

Ref: Circular letter 08/2015

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Planning, Finance, Audit

Enquiries should be directed to:

Matthew Lorimer, tel 0117 931 7291, e-mail ilr_heifes_stats@hefce.ac.uk