Hefce gives out extra places and takes back £20m from teaching funds

June 25, 2010

The 10,000 extra student places for next year have been allocated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, with newer teaching-focused universities the main beneficiaries.

The distribution among 57 institutions was announced as universities were informed that £20 million of teaching funds for this year were being withdrawn as part of the government’s immediate spending cuts.

The figure – which represents a 0.4 per cent cut in the teaching grant for the 2009-10 academic year – was revealed in a revised grant letter from Hefce. It follows the announcement last month by the coalition government of a £200 million cut to the higher education budget for the 2010-11 financial year as part of wider £6.2 billion savings across Whitehall.

Most of the cut, £118 million, has been achieved by halving the 20,000 extra student places promised by the previous Labour government in its March Budget.

The remaining £82 million is being made in efficiency savings – £52 million from the teaching grant and £30 million from teaching capital funding.

Because the reduction was applied from April 2010, Hefce said that £20.8 million in savings to the teaching grant would need to be made in the current academic year, which runs to 31 July.

An adjustment will be made in this year’s final monthly payments to institutions to account for the reduction.

Meanwhile, of the 10,000 extra student places allocated to institutions for next year, about 8,000 of the new entrants will be full-time and 2,000 part-time.

The Open University has been given the most full-time equivalent places – 1,500 – with other big allocations including Anglia Ruskin University (540) and Manchester Metropolitan University (372). Hefce has also announced that 1,712 student places will be moved over to science, technology, engineering and maths subjects next year following bidding for almost £4 million to meet increasing demand for such courses.

simon.baker@tsleducation.com

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