Press release

Tougher quality measures for higher education alternative providers

Government unveils a package of new measures to boost the quality of alternative providers in higher education.

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

  • government tightens criteria to tighten standards at alternative providers of higher education
  • measures will be introduced to provide greater protection to students
  • plan will bring alternative providers’ quality assurance requirements into line with universities

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities has today (29 January 2015) unveiled a package of new measures to boost the quality of alternative providers in higher education, and to protect the student interest.

The government’s new controls will strengthen the quality requirements around alternative providers in England – creating a stricter baseline for acceptable quality.

Measures include requiring directors of alternative providers to pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test, all non-degree awarding powers institutions to be re-designated every year rather than remaining designated indefinitely and creating a Rapid Response Investigatory Team to quickly investigate any serious concerns that may arise at institutions.

Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities said:

Britain’s system of higher education is renowned worldwide for its high quality. It is essential that this reputation for quality continues to strengthen.

Alternative providers must contribute to, not detract from, that reputation. The government has clearly taken steps to tighten standards, including requiring all alternative providers to apply for re-designation.

But I believe we should go further, including requiring annual designation, establishing a ‘fit and proper person’ test for directors of alternative providers, retaining student number controls for providers without degree-awarding powers or who offer validated degrees and requiring a minimum standard of English.

The reputation for quality of our higher education system is of paramount importance, and I expect all alternative providers to contribute to it.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Written Ministerial Statement that outlines these measures can be found at: House of Commons: Written Statement (HCWS239)
  2. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills continues to work with Student Loans Company, the Higher Education Funding Council and the Quality Assurance Agency, to regulate the system and oversee these changes.
Published 29 January 2015