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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Applications for designation for HEFCE funding have now closed. Higher education providers that wish to become directly funded from 2019-20 need to register with the Office for Students (OfS).

See more about how new applicants can register with the OfS

Designation for HEFCE funding

The Government provides funding for HE in England, which HEFCE allocates. These funds support three priorities:

  • learning, teaching and student choice
  • research
  • knowledge exchange with business and the wider community.

This funding is often called ‘HEFCE funding’ and the institutions that receive it directly are sometimes described as ‘authority funded higher education providers’.

The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 sets out the types of providers HEFCE can fund. This includes:

  • higher education institutions
  • further education colleges offering courses which lead to qualifications recognised by the legislation (or ‘prescribed’ courses)
  • other institutions maintained or assisted by a local education authority.

How providers can receive HEFCE funding

A provider can become a higher education institution by three routes:

  • by gaining university title
  • by becoming a higher education corporation in statute
  • by becoming a 'designated institution' in statute 

Conditions of funding

HEFCE-funded providers must meet requirements laid out in HEFCE's Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability. These requirements are conditions of their grant from HEFCE. They specify that HEFCE-funded providers must:

  • use the funding for the educational purposes for which it is provided
  • subscribe to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (this means they must follow the QAA’s processes for reviewing the quality of teaching and addressing institutional complaints)
  • subscribe to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and provide all required data returns to HESA
  • subscribe to core Jisc services (this requirement will end in July 2018)
  • complete and submit audit and accountability returns for financial sustainability and governance to HEFCE
  • report formally to HEFCE on an annual basis that they have met the requirements of the memorandum
  • charge between £6 – 9,000 per year in tuition fees for EU and UK undergraduate (if approved by the Office for Fair Access).

These providers can be audited by HEFCE or by the National Audit Office.

Further education colleges

Further education colleges which offer HE may apply for funding from HEFCE.

HEFCE has a funding agreement with the further education colleges that it funds to provide HE. The agreement covers the amount of funding they receive and the number of HE students they may recruit.

Further education colleges are already subject to a funding agreement with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), and the SFA provides assurance annually to HEFCE about the financial sustainability of these colleges.

This means that the SFA assesses the financial health of the college and takes action where necessary. It also means that further education colleges are not subject to double regulation by both HEFCE and SFA for any aspect of their work. 

The providers that HEFCE funds directly are listed in the HEFCE register of HE providers. 

Applying for HEFCE funding

Applications for the designation for HEFCE funding gateway for 2018-19 have now closed. We expect the Government to publish a consultation on the new regulatory framework in the autumn. 

Read the government guidance

Page last updated 11 September 2017

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