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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 Kingdommarker, which has been responsible for the distribution of funding to Universities and Colleges of Higher and Further Education in Englandmarker since 1992. It was created by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

In 2007-08 HEFCE allocated £7.1 billion in public funds from the UK Government to universities andcolleges in England to "support them in delivering high quality education, research and related activities".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.

It is based in Northavon House, on the outskirts of north Bristolmarker on the campus of the University of the West of Englandmarker. Around 250 people are based in the building, including employees of HEFCE, JISC, the Office for Fair Access, and the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

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.

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

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

HEFCE also owns the Unistats website [70337] which contains the student satisfaction ratings for different universities and subjects. These satisfaction ratings are compiled from the National Student Survey [70338], 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.

Initiatives

HEFCE currently supports five teaching initiatives:
  1. Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)
  2. Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL)
  3. Higher Education Academy
  4. National Teaching Fellowship Scheme
  5. Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP)


The provision of funding for Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) arose from consultations held in 2003. The CETL initiative is designed to reward excellent teaching practice, develop that excellence through further research, and disseminate and embed teaching excellence in both the institution and the wider Higher Education sector. 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.

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.

The Higher Education Academy, founded in May 2004, is funded by HEFCE and 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).

HEFCE also funds a National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) for those working in Englandmarker and Northern Irelandmarker. 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.

Finally, HEFCE supports the Teaching and Learning Research Programme which aims to promote excellent educational research designed to enhance learning.

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