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 

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.

Waves 1 and 2 of the degree apprenticeship fund are seeking to grow capacity and increase starts on degree apprenticeships at Level 6. 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 for waves 1 and 2.

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).  

The inclusion of other levels may be allowed for wave 3. Any changes to the approach for wave 3 will be confirmed in Spring 2024.

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: 

Bids for wave 1 can include proposals to support activity already started, provided we gain assurance that the funding awarded by the OfS will be spent in full within the stated period. We expect that any funding received through this competition will provide additional value to accelerate current development plans rather than duplicate or replace costs that have already been covered or committed to by other funding streams. 

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  

Providers not currently offering degree apprenticeships at Levels 6 and/or 7 would be considered a strand 2 provider and only eligible to apply for funding to develop new Level 6 degree apprenticeships in wave 2 and/or wave 3.  

Wave 1 funding is only open to strand 1 providers who are already delivering Level 6 and/or 7 degree apprenticeships and have received approval from the apprenticeship provider and assessment register (APAR) to deliver apprenticeships and are currently undertaking activity to deliver apprenticeships in the 2024-25 academic year (paragraph 62 of the guidance document). 

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. This information is collected in the yellow section of table 3 of the wave 2 bidding template (Annex B).  

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 

Yes, as detailed in paragraph 110 of the guidance, if you were unsuccessful in your bid for wave 1 then you can rework and resubmit your bid for funding in wave 2 and/or wave 3.  

Please note that you will need to ensure that you complete the correct bidding template for the respective wave(s).  

Published 28 September 2023
Last updated 02 November 2023
02 November 2023
updated FAQ section.
04 October 2023
Corrections of two annex reference typos.

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