Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) published Government Response on Consultation “Students at the Heart of the System“. Two points relevant to mathematics:

**(A) Unconstrained recruitment of students with AAB+/ABB+ is to stay:**

2.2.52 HEFCE’s decision that institutions will retain a student number limit equal to at least 20% of their 2011-12 numbers also means that for the institutions that currently recruit a very high proportion of AAB+ students, there will still be a core to make contextual data offers, and they will still be able to expand if they choose to. HEFCE will look at how best to achieve a similar outcome for 13/14, with the introduction of ABB+. […]

[p. 33] However we are clear that our tariff policy (allowing unconstrained recruitment of students with AAB+ and equivalent grades for 2012/13 and ABB+ from 2013/14) should not impact negatively on fair access to higher education by taking away places from people from disadvantaged backgrounds. […]

**(B) But mathematics is excluded from “contestable margin”:**

1.4 […] [F]rom 2013/14 the tariff policy should be further liberalised to apply to students with ABB+ grades, taking one in three entrants out of number controls. We also announced that a further 5,000 places should be made available through the contestable margin. […]

2.2.53. We also welcome the way in which HEFCE has implemented our core and margin policy. In particular we welcome the fact that: […]

Student numbers in chemistry, engineering, **mathematics**, physics and modern foreign languages will be excluded from the calculation to create the margin.

Regarding (A), BIS recognises that

2.2.42. Many respondents expressed the view that AAB+ grades are harder to achieve in** STEM subjects** and warned of the potential consequences for the supply of **STEM graduates**. They were concerned that unconstrained recruitment would lead to students choosing to study subjects in which they are most likely to achieve AAB+ grades, and to institutions favouring those courses where they can attract large numbers of high-achieving students.