HEFCE grant letter
25 January 2012
Commenting on today’s grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Russell Group Director General Dr Wendy Piatt, said:
“Although this settlement is largely in line with earlier indications, let’s not forget this is still a huge cut for universities in England.
“This settlement shows just how important the tuition fee income will be to universities to replace what they have lost in the teaching grant.
“We are worried that the ‘core and margin’ policy could result in a cut in student places at the world-leading Russell Group universities - despite the fact they have high demand from well-qualified students. We hope that the future announcement on contestable places for 2013/14 will take this into account.
“On the plus side we are pleased that BIS has asked HEFCE to prioritise funding for high-cost subjects such as STEM, and others of strategic importance like modern foreign languages. These subjects are vital for our universities, economy and society and are vulnerable in times of tighter funding. We urge HEFCE to continue to focus its remaining grant on these subjects in subsequent years, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“We hope that the planned shared HEFCE/OFFA strategy for promoting access will build on existing work our institutions are already doing to ensure that every student with the qualifications, potential and determination to succeed at a Russell Group university has the chance to do so. We remain concerned that the Government’s access policies risk focusing too much on universities rather than resolving underachievement at school and poor information, advice and guidance. Universities can and do help - but we simply cannot solve these problems alone.
“Capital funding, particularly for research, is under great pressure, and this will really begin to bite in 2012-13. World-class infrastructure, particularly buildings and equipment, is needed to facilitate the very best environment for research and teaching. These cuts will make it increasingly difficult for our institutions to compete with better resourced institutions internationally.”
Notes to editors
• The total grant to HEFCE will be £5.86 billion in 2012-13, compared to £6.709 billion in 2011-12 which is a reduction of 13 per cent.