12 Feb 2015
The university think-tank million+ has commented on the report published today (12 February) by Universities UK on the regulation of higher education in England. The report ‘Quality, equity, sustainability: the future of higher education regulation’ argues the current system of regulation is outdated and reform is needed in order to protect the UK’s reputation for quality.
Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive, million+ said:
“There are serious doubts about whether any party will consider a higher education Bill to be a high priority early in the life of the next Parliament and much more likely that improvements in regulation or changes to the fee cap will be delivered by statutory instruments rather than primary legislation. However there are risks in arguing that the regulatory role of HEFCE should be expanded.
“HEFCE remains a significant funder in terms of research as well as providing some direct grant for teaching and its funding role could be increased if fees were reduced and direct grant restored. It would be highly unusual for a regulator to have a major role as a funder. Given there are so many unknowns, proposals to extend HEFCE’s regulatory role may be premature.
“It is also difficult to understand the rationale for subsuming the Office of Fair Access into HEFCE bearing in mind the primary legislation that underpins OFFA. An independent access regulator has been supported by all of the main parties and it is unlikely that any proposal to change this will find political favour after the election.”
Notes to Editors