Universities will receive an additional £1 billion in the forthcoming financial year

The UK government has confirmed that it will increase funding for higher education (HE) in England by approximately £1 billion in the forthcoming financial year, as detailed in a recent letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).

The grant letter, signed by business secretary Vince Cable and minister for universities and science Greg Clark, confirms the estimated increase in HE funding forecast in a previous grant letter from February 2014. Combining Hefce funding with the income from tuition fees, the total funds available to universities will rise from £11.1 billion in 2014–2015 to £12.1bn in 2015–2016.

A record number of university applications may help to explain the funding bump, with £8.1 billion of the £12.1 billion funds available coming from tuition fees in 2015–2016, compared with £7 billion in 2014–2015. HE in England will also see an increase of £163 million in capital funding compared with 2014–2015, but an overall decrease of £244 million in the total recurrent grant offered for teaching and research.

In addition to mapping out funding for the new financial year, Cable and Clark also called upon Hefce to work with institutions to ensure a greater level of diversity in senior leadership. The letter points out that ‘currently one vice chancellor in five is female’ and the HE sector ‘should go much further to seek out … the diverse talent available’.