Select Committee on Education and Employment Minutes of Evidence



NOTE TO THE COMMITTEE SPECIALIST FROM MS SHEILA WATT, HEFCE (HE 146A)

  When a student has changed from FT to PT before the HESES reference date (1 December), or it is known before the submission date that they will be changing from FT to PT, we have advised institutions to make the return as if the student was PT for the whole period, with an FTE consisting of the sum of the FT and PT study.

  The HESES also involves an element of forecasting about what happens after 1 December. Nobody has raised any questions about how they should treat changes from FT to PT within the forecast. Should they ask, we would advise them to return their estimate in the same way, that is by reducing the amount of FT and increasing the amount of PT in accordance with their estimate. Again the FTE would be the same.

  Note that the effect of such a change would be to increase the notional weighted FTE used in funding allocations, because we attach a premium to PT.

  Finally, we can say with certainty that this has not affected the OU funding. From their HESA returns it appears that just one student has followed the full-time to part-time path in 1999-2000.

  Our funding is output based, but in quite a sophisticated way. We do not require students to complete their course, or even pass a year of study, merely complete a year of study. This provides a financial incentive to retain students, in a way which does not create pressures which could undermine standards.

Sheila Watt
HEFCE

February 2001


 
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