The price of a University drop-out 3: Exactly how much is each student worth?

In the last post, we looked into how HEFCE derive predicted non-completion figures year on year so that when we unwrap the data we know what we’re looking at.

But, in order to figure out the wider effect on Universities, it’s key to look at exactly how much a student is worth to a university when it comes to public funding.

Basically, (as of 2003/2004, with some information in the more recent publication) HEFCE derive a ‘resource’ that is required for a University to function. This ‘resource’ consists of the tuition fee added onto the grant provided by HEFCE.

So, in other words, HEFCE decide the cost of teaching a student and fund the shortfall between that cost and the tuition fee allocation.

To do this, students are broken down into FTEs, or full-time equivalent terms, where a figure is derived that represents the cost of educating the average full-time under-graduate student.

The FTE figure is then increased against a number of influencing factors like the cost ‘weight’ of a degree (laboratories carry heavy costs), whether a degree is a standard year in length (long courses used to carry a 25% premium in 03/04, not currently) and whether the area of study (mainly London) has a higher operating cost.

All home and EU students on openly accessible higher education courses are under this system of funding. A part-time student, for example, will be paid at 0.5 FTE.

The basic price for a full-time under-graduate degree, with no frills or additions, is £3,951, with the assumed tuition fee income sitting at £1,310.

So, the HEFCE pay £2,641 for each student studying a degree in Price Band D.

Wow. That took a while. There are, admittedly, a massive number of variables, but the key focus is on the price bands:

So, HEFCE make up a massive shortfall on the most expensive-to-run degrees, so non-completions will be especially damaging.

But, we’ll save that analysis for another post…

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2 Responses to The price of a University drop-out 3: Exactly how much is each student worth?

  1. Pingback: The price of a University drop-out 4: Time for some numbers. | Help Me Investigate… Education

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