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University funding: Notice


The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced its recurrent grants to universities for the academical year 1998-99 on 5 March 1998. The report is available on the Worldwide Web at http://www.niss.ac.uk/education/hefce/pub98/98_09.html. The grant for Cambridge was announced as an increase of 4.2 per cent over 1997-98, compared with a national average increase of 3.6 per cent. The details are still being analysed, but overall the grant represents a modest increase in real terms. While this is welcome, it has to be considered in the context of the continuing uncertainty over the future of the College fee arrangements and over the long-term funding of higher education nationally. The Funding Council's announcement assumes that the existing arrangements for the College fee will continue for 1998-99, but there has been no formal announcement to that effect from the Government, nor any statement as to the future of the College fee beyond 1999.

The allocations for 1998-99 are the first to be made on the Funding Council's new methodology for the funding of teaching, which is based on national units of funding in four broad subject groups. The University has been operating within the recently agreed tolerances of these bands, and the new funding methodology has had no effect on the University's allocation.

The Funding Council's announcement also confirms the University's Maximum Aggregate Student Number (MASN) for 1998-99 at 9,914. This is the total of publicly funded undergraduates and P.G.C.E. students allocated to the University, and represents an increase of 0.6 per cent over the comparable figure for 1997-98. A request by the University for a further increased allocation to take account of the introduction of four-year undergraduate courses in certain subjects was not accepted by the Funding Council because of the University's significant under-recruitment against its MASN in 1997-98.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 18 March 1998
Copyright © 1998 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.