In December 2017, the Commonwealth froze maximum Commonwealth Grant scheme funding for bachelor-degree places for the next two years. In subsequent years, the maximum payment will increase in line with growth in the 18-64 year old population, conditional on universities meeting performance indicators.
Just before the 2017 announcement, I outlined its legal basis. It used university funding agreements to set the maximum amount, with the method chosen because it did not need parliamentary approval.
At least initially, performance funding will be administered via the funding agreements, which include a standard statement that should the university meet its performance targets it will be advised of a new maximum funding amount.
A drawback of this method of allocating performance funding is that there is no performance fund. The underlying demand driven funding system is still operating, and under section 33-5(5) of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 universities receive the lesser of their demand driven funding amount (bachelor-degree full-time equivalent student places times the relevant Commonwealth contribution) and their maximum funding amount.
All the Commonwealth is doing is promising universities it will pay a little more of what they would have been entitled to anyway under demand driven funding. Read More »