The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills released its annual grant letter on 14 January, unveiling funding and policy priorities for 2013-14.
The letter, sent to the Higher Education Funding Council for England by Vince Cable, the business secretary, and David Willetts, the universities and science minister, confirms that the grade threshold for unlimited recruitment will be lowered to ABB next year – not BBB or below, as some in the sector had urged.
Mr Cable and Mr Willetts write that “given the pattern of recruitment in 2012-13”, the government has “the flexibility to apply student number controls less rigidly in 2013-14”.
Libby Hackett, chief executive of the University Alliance, said she was “really pleased with the emphasis on both stability and flexibility, flexibility in particular”.
Ms Hackett said that BBB might be the “next step down the ladder”, or there “might be other ways” of relaxing student number controls for institutions with higher demand. Ideas were being discussed in the sector on continuing “the principle of ABB in opening up the market, but perhaps finding a more flexible and sophisticated way of doing it”.