Eng­land’s large post-92s hit by ‘stu­dent out­comes’ fund­ing cut

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS - si­mon.baker@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

A num­ber of newer English uni­ver­si­ties are among those los­ing the most di­rect teach­ing fund­ing next year fol­low­ing a £30 mil­lion cut to fund­ing de­signed to stop dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents drop­ping out of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

At some large post-92 in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing Lon­don Metropol- itan, Leeds Beck­ett and Manch­ester Metropoli­tan uni­ver­si­ties, over­all grant fund­ing will drop by more than £1 mil­lion, a large part of which is down to the cut.

The Of­fice for Stu­dents an­nounced last month that the “pre­mium to sup­port suc­cess­ful stu­dent out­comes” – which is tar­geted at those judged to be more at risk of leav­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion based on fac­tors such as their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and age – would fall to £165 mil­lion in 2018-19 for full-time un­der­grad­u­ates.

It was a de­ci­sion that stemmed from the gov­ern­ment’s last spend­ing re­view in 2015, when cash to sup­port dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents was ear­marked for cuts of up to half from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

An in­di­ca­tion of the uni­ver­si­ties that will be most af­fected by the cut in 2018-19 comes from the OfS’ an­nounce­ment on teach­ing fund­ing for in­di­vid­ual uni­ver­si­ties – the first since the body of­fi­cially took over the role of dis­tribut­ing teach­ing grants from the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund­ing Coun­cil for Eng­land.

Al­though di­rect teach­ing grants have dwin­dled in im­por­tance to uni­ver­si­ties since the 2012 rise in tu­ition fees, they will still pro­vide about £1.3 bil­lion in in­come for in­sti­tu­tions in Eng­land next year.

The OfS said that this in­cluded £681 mil­lion in fund­ing to sup­port high-cost sub­jects, a cash in­crease of 4 per cent to main­tain the bud­get in real terms. Spend­ing on a na­tional out­reach pro­gramme and pre­mi­ums to sup­port dis­abled stu­dents and those from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds study­ing part-time have also been main­tained in cash terms.

How­ever, the drop in fund­ing to help pre­vent dis­ad­van­taged full­time un­der­grad­u­ates from drop­ping out has led to some in­sti­tu­tions see­ing their teach­ing grant fall by 10 per cent or more.

Oth­ers have also been hit by the cut, but the over­all ef­fect may have been mit­i­gated by the boost in fund­ing for high- cost sub­jects or by the con­tin­u­ing chan­nelling of gov­ern­ment money for nurs­ing and other al­lied health sub­jects through the OfS rather than NHS bur­saries.

Else­where, the fig­ures for teach­ing grants show that the Open Uni­ver­sity will lose more than £9 mil­lion in di­rect fund­ing next year as sup­port for part-time stu­dents who started cour­ses be­fore the 2012 fees change comes to an end. Al­though the cut would not have been un­ex­pected for the OU, it again shows the kinds of chal­lenges that the in­sti­tu­tion has had to face in ad­just­ing to the post-2012 fund­ing regime.

Ni­cola Dan­dridge, the OfS chief ex­ec­u­tive, said that the body’s fo­cus for the fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions this year was to pre­pare “a smooth tran­si­tion” be­fore new reg­u­la­tory ar­range­ments fully come into force next year as a re­sult of the re­cent Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Re­search Act.

“Dur­ing this time, we will be re­view­ing our ap­proach to fund­ing for the longer term to en­sure that it se­cures the best out­comes for stu­dents,” she said.

He­fce was also re­spon­si­ble for al­lo­cat­ing an­nual qual­ity-re­lated re­search grants for uni­ver­si­ties, but th­ese, and the 2018-19 dis­tri­bu­tion of fund­ing for knowl­edge ex­change, will be an­nounced sep­a­rately by UK Re­search and In­no­va­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.