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 have published the outcomes of our consultation on a revised approach to funding world-leading specialist providers.
We are now inviting submissions from eligible providers to be considered a world-leading specialist provider by the OfS’s Specialist Provider Panel. We are in the process of establishing a time limited panel of our board to assess whether a registered higher education provider is world-leading. Further details of the membership of that panel will be published in due course.
Our request for nominations has now closed - see information about how we sought nominations.