FE colleges win over half of lower fee student places

Anglia Ruskin University and London Metropolitan University are the biggest winners in the allocation of 20,000 “margin” student places for next year, but 155 further education colleges have grabbed more than half the pot.

March 7, 2012

The Higher Education Funding Council for England today announced the results of the allocation, which is only available to those institutions charging average tuition fees in 2012-13 of £7,500 or less.

Under the system, universities lost at least 9 per cent of their “core” allocation – generally made up of students with A-level grades below AAB – to form a pool of 20,000 places.

This pool has now been reallocated – on the basis of competitive bidding – as part of plans to lower the cost of student loans to the government and create competition from further education colleges.

A Hefce statement said bids “were assessed on criteria of quality, demand and cost”. In total, it received bids from 203 institutions for 36,000 places.

Final allocations were made on a pro rata basis, the statement said. This means each successful institution received an allocation that was calculated as a proportion of its original bid. As a result institutions may have benefited from over-bidding, ending up with a bigger slice of places.

The places were divided between 190 higher education institutions and further education colleges. Higher education institutions gained 9,643 places, distributed between 35 institutions. Further education colleges gained 10,354 places, distributed between 155 institutions.

Of the higher education institutions to win most places, Anglia Ruskin gained 569 places (2.85 per cent of the 20,000 places), London Metropolitan gained 564 places (2.82 per cent), Nottingham Trent University gained 558 places (2.79 per cent), Staffordshire University gained 549 places (2.75 per cent), and Birmingham City University gained 411 places (2.06 per cent).

In further education, the list of biggest winners was led by Hartpury College in Gloucester (352 places), Newham College in east London (294 places) and Newcastle College (260 places).

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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