Consultation outcome

Higher education sector: a new, fit-for-purpose regulatory framework

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Detail of outcome

We’ve dropped the stipulation that institutions needed 4,000 students to become a university to 1,000. Smaller institutions can use the title of ‘university’ with immediate effect.

There will also be a review into how existing quality assurance arrangements affect alternative providers, including further education colleges offering higher education.

‘Alternative providers specific course designation: guidance for applicants’ explains the new specific course designation process, the criteria and conditions, and the new application process.

See the website dedicated to higher education reform.

Original consultation


We're asking for views on changes to how the higher education sector is run.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

We set out plans for reform of the regulatory system for higher education in England in the White Paper ‘Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System’. This consultation covers the more technical aspects of these proposals, to inform what changes to procedures, powers and duties to the regulatory framework of the higher education sector will need to be considered, to protect the interests of students and public investment.

We would like your views on how the new regulatory system should be run, including:

  • the introduction of an independent lead regulator
  • a single regulatory framework for provider designation for student support and HEFCE teaching grant
  • the adoption of a single gateway for entry to the higher education sector
  • reforms to Degree Awarding Powers (DAPs) and University Title (UT) criteria
  • simplifying the process for changing corporate status


Published 4 August 2011