14 January 2013

million+ welcomes retention of student numbers as BIS Annual Letter recognises the potential for instability in English HEIs

million+ welcomes retention of student numbers as BIS Annual Funding Letter recognises the potential for instability in English universities

The university think-tank million+ has welcomed the decision to maintain the overall number of student places allocated to universities in England in 2013-14 which has been confirmed in the Annual Letter from Ministers in the Department of Business, Universities and Skills (BIS) to the Higher Education Funding Council (Hefce). In the face of further unpredictability in student demand, the Annual Letter also outlines a more relaxed approach to over-recruitment through the introduction of a tolerance band of 3% if institutional numbers are exceeded.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of the university think-tank million+ said:

"The Government’s reforms to higher education in England have caused instability and the decision to maintain the overall number of funded places is welcome and provides universities with some opportunity to recover. The further deregulation of student numbers by A-level grade in 2013 still remains a high risk strategy."

"Without evidence of a bounce-back in applications the estimates of institutional income from fees may prove highly optimistic".

"The significant reductions in a capital funding for teaching and the continued emphasis on hyper-selectivity of research funding are disappointing. On both counts Ministers have missed an opportunity to stimulate the economy".


ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The  annual grant letter from BIS to HEFCE sets out allocations for funding higher education in England and the Government's priorities for the coming year and is available via http://www.hefce.ac.uk/media/hefce/content/whatwedo/fundingandinvestment/fundinginstitutions/annualfundingallocations/grantletter/grant_letter_2013.pdf

2. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information please contact Jean Candler, Head of Public Affairs on 0207 717 1659 or out of hours 07900 277 819.