Accidental funding 2

October 24, 2003

Hefce did not unveil any proposals on teaching funding last week as you report ("V-cs pan Hefce bid to redirect funding", THES , October 17), nor does it have plans to force nearly 50 universities to hand back millions of pounds.

We are consulting on teaching funding to ensure that the rates we provide are objectively based, not to redirect funding. Regardless of the introduction of differential tuition fees, future funding needs to take account of the costs of teaching different academic subjects.

Proposed changes relate mainly to the funding weights applied to different subjects, which are based on 1994 data and are out of date. All the evidence shows that classroom-based teaching is underfunded.

Funding for foundation degrees, for example, needs to be based on up-to-date information given the expansion. This money will be consolidated into baseline teaching grants, the impact of which will be felt well beyond the next 24 months.

The simulations we have published are not proposed grant allocations but intended to help institutions prepare their responses to our consultation.

We are prepared to negotiate with institutions and consider deferring changes until 2006-07.

Liz Beaty
Director, learning and teaching
Higher Education Funding Council for England

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