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Executive summary


1. This document details the outcomes of ‘Funding to support teaching in higher education: Consultation on arrangements for supporting widening access and successful student outcomes, including progression to taught postgraduate study’ (HEFCE 2016/10), run by HEFCE from 8 June 2016 to 22 July 2016. It identifies the key points made by respondents (in their formal responses and at our consultation events) and our responses to these points, including where we have made changes to the proposals outlined in the consultation.

2. At its meeting on the 17 September the HEFCE Board agreed the outcomes as published here. ‘Board decisions regarding the NCOP and teaching funding for widening access, successful student outcomes and progression to postgraduate study’ (HEFCE Circular letter 27/2016) provides an overview.


3. Each academic year HEFCE is responsible for distributing government funding to English universities and colleges. We divide the total into money for teaching, research, knowledge exchange, funding for national facilities and initiatives, and capital grants. Occasionally, we may have further separate funding allocations for particular activities. Funding for teaching comprises an element to support high-cost subject funding and a number of other targeted allocations.

4. HEFCE’s 2016-17 grant letter from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills asked us to review the ‘approach to allocating teaching funding, to reflect that the [higher education] funding reforms of 2012-13 are now largely in steady state’.

5. We are working to fulfil this request and to ensure that teaching funding reflects the wider vision set out in the Government’s May 2016 Higher Education White Paper: to boost competition and choice in higher education, to promote teaching excellence and social mobility, and to deliver good value for students, employers and taxpayers.

6. This consultation focused on two specific areas for implementation from 2017-18:

  • supporting widening access and successful student outcomes
  • supporting taught postgraduate education.

7. In addition to these areas, a number of wider changes are in train, which include:

  1. Changes to teaching funding for academic year 2016-17, including the introduction of a geographically focused national outreach programme, the national collaborative outreach programme (NCOP), as well as increased funding to support institutions’ provision for disabled students.
  2. Developing an approach to allocating teaching funding that we will receive from 2017-18 to support nursing, midwifery and allied health professions, which forms one part of the reforms through which this provision will be financed on the same basis as other areas of higher education. The Department of Health responded to its consultation on implementing the reforms during the summer, and we are working closely with it to ensure the reforms are implemented in the most effective way.
  3. Consideration of further improvements to other areas of teaching funding, including the underpinning data requirements, from academic year 2018-19.

Where to find out more

8. The rest of this document provides detail on the outcomes of the consultation. A number of alternative providers responded and may find the outcomes of interest. It should be noted, however, that funding in 2017-18 will only be available to HEFCE-fundable providers. Annex A provides a summary of the consultation proposals and decisions made by the HEFCE Board.

9. If you have any specific queries or concerns, email the HEFCE Learning and Teaching Policy team at

Action required

10. This publication is for information.

Date: 20 December 2016

Ref: HEFCE 2016/39

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

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Senior Management, Admissions, Planning, Finance Widening access and student success, Finance, Governance, Learning and teaching, Partnership, Schools and colleges liaison

Enquiries should be directed to:

HEFCE-funded colleges and universities should raise any questions with their HEFCE institutional teams (see for a searchable list of contacts).

Queries from other interested parties should be sent to