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Higher Education: Finance

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what discussions he has had with the Higher Education Funding Council for England on financial penalties for higher education institutions that over-recruit for the 2009-10 academic year; and when information on such penalties will be provided to higher education institutions. (277845)

This is not a question of imposing financial penalties, but rather of ensuring the quality of the student experience and providing student support to all those who need it. If universities over-recruit, both of these objectives are put at risk. The Secretary of State wrote to HEFCE on 29 October setting out his plans for additional student numbers in 2009/10 and asking the Council to minimise and preferably eliminate over-recruitment by HE Institutions in that year. HEFCE wrote to institutions on 10 November 2008, asking them to review their recruitment plans for the following year. We have said that any over recruitment in the coming year could result in a transfer of HEFCE grant back to this Department in that or future years. HEFCE will pass this transfer on to over-recruiting universities according to the extent of their over recruitment.