HEFCE funding allocations 2013

21 March 2013

Commenting on HEFCE recurrent funding allocations for 2013-14 Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“The Government is right to lower the grade threshold at which universities can offer unrestricted places from AAB to ABB this year, which is something we have consistently argued for. This is a sensible move which should allow more well-qualified students greater freedom to gain a place on one of their preferred courses.

“Overall we recognise that the high cost of the student support package requires HEFCE to have some control on student numbers and we believe that maintaining the quality of courses is more important than increasing overall student numbers.

“However it’s important to remember that a university’s allocation of places is just one part of the picture. Ultimately the number of students at each university will depend increasingly on the choices students make and how the application process plays out. We are pleased that HEFCE is allowing 3% flexibility for core student numbers, which will allow universities to do more to fill their undergraduate places, with less risk of draconian fines.  

“We are concerned that strategically important and vulnerable subjects, such as engineering, chemistry and physics, are not properly funded; the tuition fee income alone cannot cover their high costs. Russell Group universities have a high proportion of students in these subjects which are extremely important to the future growth of the UK’s economy. 

“It is right that at a time of very limited resources, HEFCE will be focusing research funding on those institutions most capable of delivering excellence and of maintaining the UK’s place as a global leader in higher education. Research students benefit most from the environment in high quality research institutions where they are able to work with world-class academics across a wide range of disciplines. 

“The Higher Education Innovation Fund is vital for innovation and knowledge exchange – it is good news that HEFCE are bringing the total up to £160 million. It must be concentrated on those universities best able to translate world-class research and knowledge into economic benefit to the UK.

“HEFCE’s continuation of funding for some taught postgraduates is a welcome recognition of the very limited funding available for postgraduate education.  But we would like to see the Government address growing concerns about financial support for postgraduate students.  Despite the funding universities make available to home students to support postgraduate study, more than half of students on taught postgraduate courses report that they have no award or financial backing for their tuition fees.”

 

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