Subject to confusion

November 14, 2003

Lord Puttnam and subject lobby groups should understand the Higher Education Funding Council for England's methodology before shooting off scare stories (Letters, THES , November 7).

First, the changes that Hefce proposes will affect the "standard resource". This is a calculation based on the number of students and the subject price groups (the controversial element). But institutions do not receive the standard resource. If they did, then these criticisms of the change to the Hefce model would be justified.

Second, the block grant comes as a block, without identifying where or how it should be spent. Institutions are free to resource various teaching activities as they see fit.

Most institutions make use of Hefce's price group weightings to describe the relative expenditure of different subjects, but that is their choice.

Dave Radcliffe
Senior planning officer
University of Birmingham

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