Changes to funding from 2016-17
In June 2016, we consulted with the sector on the arrangements for supporting widening access and successful student outcomes, including progression to taught postgraduate study. We consulted because the Government asked us to retarget the Student Opportunity funding to support government priorities more effectively in the context of an anticipated reduction of up to 50 per cent during the spending review period. We published the outcomes of this consultation in December 2016.
In March 2016, the HEFCE Board announced decisions for supporting widening access and successful student outcomes (HEFCE Circular letter 03/2016). This included:
National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP)
NCOP is a four year programme running from 2016-17 to 2019-20. This is a new stream of teaching funding and the first two years of the programme (phase 1) are to be funded at £60 million each calendar year.
Widening access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds
Formula-driven targeted allocation grants for widening access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds has continued in 2016-17, but with an overall budget of £54 million (reduced from £68 million).
Improving retention for full-time and part-time students
The targeted allocation for improving retention for full-time and part-time students has been maintained in cash terms for 2016-17, and distributed according to the same formula as 2015-16 (using updated student data).
Improving provision for disabled students
The targeted allocation for improving provision for disabled students has been doubled in 2016-17 to £40 million. The increase is to support institutions to meet the rapid rise in mental health issues and to transition towards an inclusive social model of support for disabled students as recommended in the recent HEFCE research reports ‘Support for higher education students with Specific Learning Difficulties’ and ‘Understanding provision for students with mental health problems and intensive support needs’.