Degree apprenticeships funding competition: Guidance for providers

This document sets out how the Office for Students (OfS) will distribute funding for up to two academic years that is designed to grow and build capacity and increase equality of opportunity in Level 6 degree apprenticeships provision at higher education providers.

28 September 2023



Frequently asked questions 

We’ve answered the questions below using our guidance. Please always refer to the guidance as this is what we will use to assess bids. 

Questions about the scope of the competition and funding 

We are unable to fund costs associated with OfS registration through this funding competition. We can’t fund in advance of need, and you would need to be OfS-registered before degree apprenticeship development funding could start.

Our registration pages might be helpful. Please contact our registration team at [email protected] if you would like more information on the OfS registration process.

Another option could be that you find a partner already OfS-registered (in the Approved fee cap category) to lead the bid as we are accepting collaborative bids under waves 2 and 3. As detailed in paragraph 121 of the guidance, collaborative partners do not need to be OfS-registered but do need to be in the process of registering on the APAR or having sought approval from the appropriate decision makers at the provider to apply to the APAR.

Higher apprenticeships range from Level 4 to Level 7 and are equivalent to a foundation degree and above. Degree apprenticeships are available at Level 6 (equivalent to a full bachelors’ degree) and Level 7 (equivalent to a full masters' degree). For more information see the government website.

The degree apprenticeship fund is seeking to grow capacity and increase starts on degree apprenticeships at Level 6 only. The eligible standards must therefore contain a degree qualification, irrespective of if this being an integrated or non-integrated end point assessment (EPA). 

You can find all the Level 6 degree apprenticeship standards on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) website. We suggest that providers review the ‘Key Information’ box and the ‘EPA plan’ on the individual apprenticeship standard webpage, to determine if a degree qualification is mandated. 

It is possible to download a list of Level 6 Apprenticeship Standards on the IfATE website by first selecting ‘Level 6’ on the Apprenticeship Level and then downloading the file. The file can then be filtered to exclude ‘non-degree qualification’ leaving the ‘integrated Degree', and the ‘non-integrated Degree’ showing. 

No, we recognise that there will be regional variations. We would encourage you to include evidence to support your request for funding for standards that do not have low take-up, as identified in Annex D of the guidance document and/or through IfATEs website.

No, we have not set a limit on the number of standards which can be bid for in any of the waves. However, bids will be assessed for credibility and this will include indications of scale and evidence of resource and capacity to deliver. 

Funding is only available to directly support Level 6 degree apprenticeships. Funding for other levels is not in scope.

However, funding awarded might have an indirect positive effect on other levels such as targeted marketing and outreach activity to support progression on to Level 6 provision from Level 4 and 5 pipelines (paragraph 35 of the guidance document).

Bids can include proposals to support activity that has already started, provided that there is evidence that the OfS funding will be spent in full within the stated period. Please see paragraph 45 of the guidance document.

As detailed in paragraph 172 of the guidance document, an award letter including terms and conditions will be issued for each successful bid to provide guidance on what the funding can and can’t be spent on. If through monitoring, we identify that funds have not been spent in line with the terms and conditions of the grant then we may not release further funds or may seek to clawback funds, if appropriate.  

We do not have specific arrangements for clawback based on the number of students recruited. However, we will maintain a strong interest in recruitment through the programme and beyond and this will form part of our monitoring and evaluation process. 

The apprenticeships do not have to be delivered during the funding period. As part of the evaluation process, we will be monitoring degree apprenticeship starts, the number of standards being delivered and the diversity of the students accessing the degree apprenticeships on the programme.  

In principle the funding could be spent on supporting digital/IT systems but not hardware as this would likely be classed as capital expenditure as detailed in paragraph 36 of the guidance document. 

Questions about who is eligible to apply for funding  

If you are not currently offering degree apprenticeships at Level 6 and/or Level 7, then we would consider you as a ‘new provider’ for the purposes of this competition and you would be classed as a strand 2 provider.

You do not need to have degree awarding powers of your own in order to apply for the funding. However, you would need to have a validation or franchise arrangement in place.  

No, only the lead provider for the bid needs to be registered with the OfS in the Approved (fee cap) category in order to be in receipt of the funding.  

However, collaborative bids must ensure that all partners meet the relevant eligibility criteria for the strand that applies to them, as outlined in paragraph 116(b)(i)(ii) of the funding competition guidance. 

In order to be able to apply as an individual provider you will need to be registered, or have applied to register, in the OfS Approved (fee cap) category and be registered on the APAR. In order for your bid to be supported you will need to be registered in the Approved (fee cap) category by the time the OfS decision on which bids to support are taken.

Please see paragraphs 53–57 of the funding competition guidance document 

Published 28 September 2023
Last updated 13 June 2024
13 June 2024
Clarification of eligibility of standards (paragraph 16).
15 May 2024
Addendum to guidance and bidding template published for wave 3 of the competition.
02 November 2023
updated FAQ section.
04 October 2023
Corrections of two annex reference typos.

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