Only one university has asked to give up some of its student numbers in response to an invitation to all institutions from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
In the light of severe funding cuts announced in the Budget HEFCE offered universities and colleges the chance to surrender some contracted numbers in exchange for retaining part of the corresponding funding council grant, in a circular issued late last year.
The council had offered to consider each application individually, although it warned that if many institutions proposed drastic cuts, it would have to turn them down.
But by the deadline for applications last Friday just one institution, believed to be a large new university, had applied to cut numbers.
Vice chancellors were still awaiting proposals from Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, for tackling key higher education funding and policy issues by mid-week. They had been promised them in time for the council meeting of the Committee if Vice Chancellors and Principals today.
A spokesman for the funding council said it was clear from the response that institutions were confident about meeting their student number targets."Some institutions that have experienced difficulties in recruiting to their targets will already have had their contracted numbers reduced through hold-back, and they may not consider it necessary to reduce their numbers still further," he added.