SUPPLEMENTARY MEMORANDUM FROM BARONESS
BLACKSTONE (HE 150)
INFORMATION ON FUNDING IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGES
FROM FULL-TIME TO PART-TIME STATUS
I am writing in response to the question asked
at the select committee evidence session on 1 February, about
the funding implications to individual higher education institutions
of students who change their mode of study from full-time to part-time
during the academic year.
My officials have consulted HEFCE on the issues
raised in the transcript of Professor Geoff Peters in his evidence
session on 23 January. I attach a note which sets the situation
out in full.
Professor Peters stated that an institution
would lose all its public funding if a student changes to part-time
study as they would be treated as a "non-completer".
As you will see, this is not the case.
The HEFCE funding mechanism operates on a broad
aggregate level. It is based on the previous year's student full-time
equivalent (FTE) numbers, plus any additional students allocated
as part of a bidding process. This is adjusted only where institutions
significantly over-or under-recruit. One student switching
from full-time to part-time is very unlikely to affect the amount
of grant paid, but a large number of such transfers could in individual
Where a full-time student changes to part-time
study before the 1 December (the HESES reference date), or it
is known before that date that this will occur, institutions are
advised to count the student as part-time for the whole period
when making their statistical return to HEFCE.
The HESES reference date also involves an element
of forecasting about what is likely to happen after 1 December.
The HEI is asked to forecast "late registrations" and
"expected drop-out" rates. Where a change from full-time
to part-time study occurs, an HEI would be expected to add the
student as an additional part-time late registration and
include the student as an expected full-time drop-out.
It is important to note that the effect of such a change would
be to increase the notional weighted full-time equivalent used
in funding allocations, as HEFCE attaches a premium to part-time
Where a change in a student's mode of study
occurs after 1 December, which was not previously anticipated
by the HEI, no alteration in the level of funding received would
occur. Indeed, after the 1 December, the funding mechanism does
not require students to complete their course, or even pass a
year of study, but merely complete a year of study, as this is
seen to provide a financial incentive to retain students, in a
way which does not create pressures which could undermine standards.