University funding changes help specialists

Review of ‘targeted allocations’ benefits many small and specialist institutions, but some see cutbacks

May 6, 2016
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Some small and specialist institutions in England have seen a huge boost to their teaching funding after a review into grant allocations at such establishments.

The increase in teaching income was revealed in the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s funding allocations for 2016-17 published on 6 May.

The increases come despite an overall slight reduction in the total amount of funding allocated to universities for 2016-17.

More than £2,986 million will be distributed between higher education institutions in 2016-17, down from the £3,011 million allocated in 2015-16.

The recurrent research grant has increased by £20 million, or 1.9 per cent, since 2015-16, while the recurrent teaching grant for the upcoming academic year is down about £50 million on 2015-16 figures, thanks to the continued phasing-in of the £9,000 tuition-fee regime.

Teaching funding at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the National Film and Television School and the Courtauld Institute of Art has risen by between 310 and 470 per cent since 2015-16, according to the data.

Hefce said that the boost in funding comes after a review of targeted allocations for specialist institutions, which is distributed in addition to the standard teaching grant.

The extra money recognises the cost and distinctive nature of teaching at these institutions as well as their public value. The results of the review, completed earlier this year, have not been published but have fed into the funding allocations for 2016-17.

Funding at some specialist institutions has fallen as a result of the review. Teaching funding is down by about 30 per cent at Rose Bruford College, the Royal Agricultural University and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts for 2016-17 compared with 2015-16, for example.

Meanwhile, as reported by Times Higher Education last year, the same review has also seen funding to support the tutorial system at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge cut.

Elsewhere, as part of this year’s funding allocations, Hefce has maintained in real terms the budgets for high-cost subjects.

It has also doubled the funding provision for disabled students to £40 million as a transitional measure to help universities support the increasing number of students reporting mental health problems.

However, a new £30 million fund to boost widening participation based on geographical “cold spots” lacking higher education has yet to be distributed.


Largest percentage increases in total recurrent grant (teaching and research) from Hefce for 2016-17

Institution Total recurrent grant 2016-17 (£s) % change from 2015-16
Guildhall School of Music and Drama 5,637,973 260
National Film and Television School 1,593,641 128
Courtauld Institute of Art 3,708,827 73
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama 5,788,024 62
Royal Academy of Music 4,808,017 45
Royal College of Music 5,361,068 38
Plymouth College of Art 991,507 37
Harper Adams University 8,897,753 34
Arts University Bournemouth 1,885,139 14
University of Winchester 2,885,411 9

Largest percentage falls in total recurrent grant (teaching and research) from Hefce for 2016-17

Institution Total recurrent grant 2016-17 (£s) % change from 2015-16
Rose Bruford College  1,169,828 -29
Royal Agricultural University 1,877,790 -28
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts 862,999 -27
University of Bedfordshire 7,229,295 -21
Bucks New University 3,640,352 -18
University of Cumbria 2,887,420 -16
Ravensbourne 2,391,159 -13
University of Bradford 12,058,897 -12
London South Bank University 12,178,034 -12
University of East London 13,300,594 -11

Source: Hefce, percentage calculation by THE. View the full data table.

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