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Higher Education Funding Council for England
Agency overview
Formed 1992
Preceding Agency Universities Funding Council
Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council
Jurisdiction England

Northavon House, Coldharbour Lane, Stoke Gifford, South Gloucestershire, BS16 1QD
51°30′00″N 2°32′44″W / 51.50000°N 2.54556°W / 51.50000; -2.54556

Employees c.260
Annual budget £7.291 bn (2010–11)[1]
Minister responsible David Willetts, Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property
Agency executives Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive
Sir Tim Melville-Ross, Chairman
Parent agency Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is a non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (previously the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) in the United Kingdom, which has been responsible for the distribution of funding to Universities and Colleges of Higher and Further Education in England since 1992.


It was created by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, which also created the Further Education Funding Council for England (FEFC), and replaced in 2001 by the Learning and Skills Council.

Scotland merged its further and higher education funding bodies in 2005.

Chief Executives


The organisation is organised into three directorates, each comprising policy and regional teams.


The chief executive of HEFCE is Sir Alan Langlands (since 1 April 2009), previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and former chief executive of the NHS. His predecessor, Professor David Eastwood is now the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham.


In 2012–13 HEFCE will allocate £5.3 billion in public funds from the UK Government to universities and colleges in England to "support them in delivering high quality education, research and related activities".[2] It only funds the institutions and does not give grants or loans to individual students. It also helps develop and implement higher education policy, based on research and consultation.

Charitable regulator

HEFCE is the legal 'principal regulator' for the many UK universities and colleges who are classed as exempt charities. HEFCE describes its role as being "to promote compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of the administration of the charity" and has a memorandum of understanding with the Charity Commission that details how the two will work together.

Industry-academia links

In addition to distributing both teaching and research funding to higher education institutions HEFCE is also involved with: widening participation; developing links between higher education institutions and business and the community; and enhancing leadership, governance and management within the sector. It provides both a contribution to core funding, and ring-fenced funding for special initiatives, projects and strategic aims.


HEFCE also owns the Unistats website which contains the student satisfaction ratings for different universities and subjects. These satisfaction ratings are compiled from the National Student Survey, and the feedback from students is held within the Unistats website and allows students to compare subjects, universities and UCAS points, see satisfaction ratings from other students and see what the employment prospects are for graduate jobs by subject chosen.


HEFCE currently supports five teaching initiatives:

  • Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)
  • Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL)
  • Higher Education Academy
  • National Teaching Fellowship Scheme
  • Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP)
  • UK Online Learning Task Force (OLTF)


The Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) initiative has two main aims: to reward excellent teaching practice, and to further invest in that practice so that CETLs funding delivers substantial benefits to students, teachers and institutions. There are currently 74 centres across the UK and the initiative represents HEFCE's largest ever single funding initiative in teaching and learning with the provision of £350 million over a five-year period.[3]


A Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL) was established in 1995 with the intention of stimulating good teaching and learning practice in Higher Education. Assessment for fund eligibility is undertaken by a teaching quality assessment exercise, and over 164 projects have been given an award since 1995.[4]


The Higher Education Academy, founded in May 2004, is funded by the UK HE Funding Councils (including HEFCE) and institutional subscriptions. It was established as the result of a merger of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILTHE), the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN), and the TQEF National Co-ordination Team (NCT).[5]


HEFCE also funds a National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) for those working in England and Northern Ireland. The initiative is administered by the Higher Education Academy and has two separate strands providing individual awards – recognising individual excellence in teaching within the Higher Education sector – and awards for large-scale projects typically undertaken by Higher Education institutions over periods of up to three years.[6]


HEFCE supports the Teaching and Learning Research Programme which aims to promote excellent educational research designed to enhance learning.[7]


The Online Learning Task Force aims to maintain and develop the position of UK higher education (HE) as a world leader in online learning. The task force was set up in summer 2009. It is chaired by Dame Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library.


HEFCE is based in Northavon House, on the outskirts of north Office for Fair Access.

See also


External links

  • HEFCE website
  • HEFCE Careers
  • Unistats website
  • National Student Survey website

Video clips

  • HEFCE YouTube channel

News items

  • Guardian Special Report – University Funding
  • HEFCE budget reduced in December 2009
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