The OfS allocates additional funding to specialist providers that recognises the higher cost and distinctive nature of (primarily small) specialist higher education providers, and the public value that they bring to the sector.
These providers contribute significantly to the diversity of the higher education provider landscape, and offer prospective students enhanced choice in the nature of the higher education experience.
Specialist funding is currently provided to a subset of providers based on the outcomes of a 2015-16 Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) review. Providers demonstrating that they met all criteria under the HEFCE review were eligible for this funding.
For 2021-22, in line with government guidance, we have increased the previous allocations by approximately 11.5 per cent, so that they now total £53 million across 16 providers.
However, we recognise that providers that were not eligible for the review in 2015‑16 have been unable to access this funding. Also, the Office for Students (OfS) has a different remit and funding powers to HEFCE. Therefore we have carried out a consultation to seek views on revised proposals for funding world-leading specialist providers.
We are currently analysing responses to our consultation on a revised approach to funding world-leading specialist providers and will publish the outcome in due course. However, the responses support our approach to establishing a time limited panel of our board to assess whether a registered higher education provider is world-leading and we are now inviting nominations for membership of this panel.
We are currently establishing the specialist provider panel. See how to nominate panel members
We need to start this nominations process now so we can make funding decisions in advance of the 2022-23 academic year.