Providers intending to deliver HTQ approved qualifications, must adhere to each cycle’s first teach date:
- Cycle 1: September 2022
- Cycle 2: September 2023
- Cycle 3: September 2024
- Cycle 4: September 2025
- Cycle 5: September 2026*
We will analyse applications in the order in which they are received. Some applications that are approved in the primary window of cycle 5.1 may be approved in time for a first teach date of September 2025. Applications approved in the primary window of cycle 5.1 that do not achieve this first teach date will have a first teach date of September 2026.
Qualifications submitted in the secondary window will only be available for first teach from September 2026
T&Cs, Guidelines and Quality Mark
Approved qualifications can be marketed as HTQs before the publication of the list, as long as:
- applicants acknowledge the first teach date, and
- learners are not misled by marketing materials to believe first teach will be sooner.
Providers wanting to advertise Higher Technical Qualifications on the National Careers Service website must include “(HTQ)” at the end of the qualification title. This is a temporary measure to help learners identify approved HTQs when using NCS.
Please note: only use this naming convention when listing approved HTQs on the NCS website. Approved HTQs should not include “Higher Technical Qualification” or “HTQ” in the title.
ESFA will contact successful applicants to support them in listing their HTQs on NCS. Applicants can list their qualifications before ESFA contact them.
HTQ Provider Toolkit
The Department for Education’s toolkit shares good practice and highlights the benefits of offering an approved HTQ. This supports providers in their delivery of Higher Technical Education.
Funding guidance for Ofqual-regulated awarding organisations with Higher Technical Qualifications (England)
This guidance is for Ofqual-regulated awarding organisations applying for IfATE’s approval of their qualifications as HTQs. It explains the student funding available from academic year 2023/24 for HTQs.
Summary of key points
- From academic year 2023/24, approved HTQs will be designated for Higher Education Student Finance (HESF) funding if all the eligibility criteria are met. Students on designated HTQ courses at OfS-registered providers will be eligible for student loans on the same basis as for other designated higher education courses.
- HTQs that do not meet HESF eligibility criteria may be funded through Advanced Learner Loans (ALL). To access ALLs the qualification must:
- have approval for ALL funding and
- the provider of the course must have a contract with Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for ALL delivery.
- ahead of the new Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) in 2025, certain HTQs that meet the HESF criteria may also be funded through Advanced Learner Loans (ALL). These HTQs will have dual eligibility for a limited period of time.
- For HTQs that have dual eligibility, a provider that is OfS registered and also has an ALL contract, must choose which funding route to offer the course through. Only one funding route can be used in a single provider.
- From academic year 2025/26, the LLE will replace both HESF and ALL funding for study at Levels 4, 5 and 6. The Government response detailing the arrangements for the LLE is available.
Eligibility for student funding
From academic year 2023/24, HTQs will be designated for HESF, on the condition that the qualification
- meets the minimum duration requirements, and
- an OfS-registered provider delivers it
Some Ofqual-regulated awarding organisations (AOs) will have HTQs that meet the eligibility criteria for HESF from academic year 2023/24. These HTQs may also be approved for ALLs. From academic year 2023/24 until introduction of the LLE in 2025, such HTQs can be delivered through either HESF or ALL. This depends on the status of the provider and the funding stream that provider is entitled to use. AOs that have delivered through ALL may now seek OfS-registered providers that can offer their HTQ through the HESF route if the provider chooses.
Note: funding available to students under each route is different. In particular, ALL funding can only cover fees, not students’ living costs. You can find more information on ALLs at Advanced Learner Loan: Overview (www.gov.uk). Ofqual-regulated AOs may seek delivery of their HTQs through a range of providers.
This applies only to HTQs awarded by Ofqual-regulated AOs that have qualifications that:
- are approved or newly eligible for ALLs, and
- are offered by providers with an ESFA contract for ALLs delivery.
The transitional period will run for academic year 2023/24 and 2024/25. These arrangements will be superseded by the LLE. The LLE will introduce a single funding route for all qualifications at levels 4, 5 and 6 from academic year 2025/26.
The ALL funding system excludes certain categories of HE qualifications that automatically qualify for HESF and are thus out of scope for ALL funding. This includes Pearson Higher Nationals, Diplomas in Education and Training and degrees and foundation degrees.
There is no requirement for an AOto seek additional providers if it chooses not to.
The ALL-funding route remains available for HTQs not meeting the HESF eligibility criteria, providing they are also approved for ALL-funding. This is most likely to be because the provider is not OfS-registered or the course is less than one year in duration. Such HTQs will transfer into the LLE funding system once that goes live, subject to LLE conditions of eligibility (to be announced).
From academic year 2023/24 HTQs will be designated for HESF, if they meet the wider eligibility criteria. L4/5 qualifications that are not HTQs will continue to be funded through the relevant funding stream. (i.e. if they are not designated for HESF they will continue to not have access to the HESF funding system).
Information for Providers
Providers delivering courses funded through HESF remain responsible for adding their courses onto the SLC’s CMS database. Where the HTQ is offered via ALLs, existing data transfer from ESFA to SLC for ALLs will apply. During the transitional period, DfE will also keep a register of the HTQs that will be delivered through HESF, ALL or both. To facilitate this, Ofqual-regulated AOs with HTQs must confirm to DfE which providers will be delivering their HTQs and which funding stream the provider will use to deliver their HTQs. This will be shared with SLC to ensure students can only access the appropriate funding for the individual course.
The provider must determine which funding route the HTQ will be offered through and advise the awarding organisation and the student. Before enrolling on an HTQ, students may choose the course and institution to attend based on the funding method.
Funding arrangements introduced from academic year 2025/26 are set out in The Lifelong Loan Entitlement consultation response. Further information on this is on page 16 of the LLE consultation response.
New undergraduate students undertaking designated full-time courses leading to an approved HTQ in the 2023/24 academic year will qualify for:
- fee loans
- for students with disabilities, disabled students’ allowance.
- partially means-tested loans for living costs,
- for students with adult or child dependants, means-tested dependants’ grants.
New undergraduate students taking designated part-time courses leading to an approved HTQ in 2023/24 will qualify for:
- fee loans
- for students with disabilities, disabled students’ allowance.
- partially means-tested loans for living costs (unlike most other part-time level 4 and 5 courses)
Entitlement to part-time loans for living costs is awarded on the basis of the student’s intensity of study compared to a full-time course. A minimum study intensity of 25% required to qualify for support.
Information on current HESF fees and maintenance entitlements is available at Student finance for undergraduates: Overview (www.gov.uk)
For further information on this guidance contact: Team.HIGHERTECHNICALEDUCATION@education.gov.uk
Last updated 29 November 2023