11 June 2012

million+: Government needs to clarify plans for HE regulation

million+ welcomes the government’s drive to regulate alternative and for-profit providers, but calls for Ministers to clarify their plans.

This follows today’s publication of the Business, Innovation and Skills department’s revised proposals for higher education in England. The government’s response comes almost a year after the publication of the White Paper Higher Education: Students at the heart of the system, and A new fit-for-purpose Regulatory Framework for the Higher Education Sector.

Professor Patrick McGhee, Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London said:

“Ministers jumped the gun by extending the student numbers market in 2013 even though many universities opposed this because of the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the new funding regime. Ministers clearly want to try and regulate alternative providers and this is to be welcomed. However, the response leaves many questions unanswered as to how this will be achieved in practice without a Higher Education Bill.

“If student number controls are extended to private providers they will have to come from somewhere. Unless Ministers expand the overall number of funded student places the real risk is that numbers will be lost from universities. This would reduce student choice and access to high quality higher education for students from non-traditional backgrounds.

“A UK university degree is highly valued throughout the world and Ministers have restated their interest in expanding the involvement of private providers in English higher education. Even without a Higher Education Bill, this remains an important principle which Parliament should have the opportunity to debate.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information, please contact Drew Lindon (Head of Public Affairs) on 0207 717 1659 or 07900 277819.
  2. The original million+ response to the White Paper consultation is available here.