Press release

MillionPlus comment on the OfS Financial Sustainability of Higher Education Providers report

04 Apr 2019

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (4 April) commented on the Office for Students (OfS) report Financial Sustainability of Higher Education Providers in England.

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“This report provides a useful picture of the generally healthy financial state of the higher education (HE) sector in England. The OfS is right, however, that much will depend on the potential impacts of any upcoming policy changes in England. With so much uncertainty around Brexit and levels of future economic growth, policy makers should be especially wary about proposals that might threaten the overall level of investment in HE providers and the education of their students. Universities are crucial drivers of our economy and should be supported to do more to promote improvement to the levels of productivity and innovation in the UK. The statement that the OfS will ‘work creatively’ to address financial challenges faced by universities at an early stage is also a welcome adjustment in tone from the regulator.

“The Home Office, working with UKVI, can also help improve the sustainability of universities in the UK in the period ahead by changing their approach to student visas and by changing the compliance regime imposed. MillionPlus recently proposed two changes to government policy, that could be taken up in the Immigration Bill, that would considerably enhance the sustainability of universities in the UK without any commitment of extra resources by the government or the OfS. We hope that the government will take up these ideas in the period ahead, creating a win-win all round for HE providers, students and the OfS.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  3. A new approach to student visas by MillionPlus is available here. The briefing outlines two proposals to improve the application process. The first would see the introduction of new out-of-country provisional visas to be issued by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) before a prospective student applies to their chosen university. The second involves streamlining and simplifying the current compliance regime by phasing out the general use of credibility interviews, where far too much subjectivity is built into the process, and by scrapping the arbitrary 10% maximum refusal rate for highly trusted providers such as universities
  4. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year
  5. Modern universities: key facts 2018