HEFCE funding decisions 2014

14 March 2014

Commenting on HEFCE board decisions on funding Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“We are pleased that ministers have maintained their commitment to university research, which is so critically important.  HEFCE’s funding underpins research excellence in the UK. 

“It is good too that HEIF has been maintained for 2014-15. This money kickstarts innovation up and down the country. Government investment in HEIF results in a six-fold return on investment and that return is greater when focused on the most research-intensive universities. That’s why Sir Andrew Witty has rightly called for this funding to be increased in the future.

“However, it is also now becoming clear that the Government’s plan to increase student numbers by 30,000 will have an impact on the funding for other students, as the Russell Group warned last year. Providing more places for higher education requires substantial long-term contributions from public funding but, as HEFCE have said today, extra student numbers require the teaching budget for existing students to be cut. This wouldn’t be fair on those students and could have a detrimental impact on the quality of their education.

“STEM subjects are vital for our future economy but they cost extra money to deliver and tuition fee income alone cannot cover the costs. HEFCE’s decision to give an extra £15 million to offset some of the cuts is welcome, but only a sticking plaster solution. These subjects are already underfunded and the extra money will not be enough to meet the full costs facing universities, especially if student numbers in these subjects continue to rise. It is encouraging that both the Chancellor and BIS have publicly acknowledged this and promised increased funding from 2015-16 – it’s now essential that they deliver on those promises.

“We also welcome the further capital announcements made recently by the Government. Capital funding is much needed by universities and will help improve facilities for both research and teaching.”

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