Understanding privately funded providers of higher education in the UK
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has commissioned CFE and the British Accreditation Council to provide a comprehensive picture of provision by privately funded institutions operating in the UK higher education (HE) sector.
BIS recognise that the nature of privately funded provision is complex and dynamic, and are keen to develop a more comprehensive understanding of this part of the UK HE sector. This research will incorporate a mapping exercise to compile a list of UK privately funded HE providers, along with surveys of institutions and students to compile a detailed understanding of these privately funded providers and the students who enrol with them.
If you represent a privately funded provider of higher education and have not yet been contacted regarding the study or would like to register your institution’s early interest in being involved in the research, please contact Tristram.Hughes@cfe.org.uk.
Is my organisation eligible for this research?
This research is focused on privately funded providers of higher education in the United Kingdom.
Am I a privately funded provider?
For the purposes of this research privately funded providers include both for profit and not-for-profit organisations that are delivering HE to students in the UK. There are a large number of types of organisation and delivery arrangements that we would want to involve in the study. These are likely to include the following types of organisation and arrangements:
- private, for profit and non-for-profit companies/charities – delivering HE level courses:
- in their own right;
- in collaboration with public providers; or
- accredited by public institutions or professional bodies
- private subsidiaries of public institutions
- collaborative/joint ventures
- private international organisations delivering to students in the UK
Am I delivering higher education?
Providers delivering education at the equivalent of Level 4 and above on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF, insert link) are eligible for this research. This includes professional qualifications at a postgraduate level.
a Postgraduate course is any course for which the normal entry requirement would be a first degree. This includes Masters degrees, PhDs and postgraduate certificates and diplomas. It normally equates to levels 7 and 8 in the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and includes any equivalent qualifications validated by non-UK universities. This category also includes professional qualifications that are at a postgraduate level.
a First degree normally carries the title “Bachelor of…”. This category includes degrees validated by non-UK universities. This normally equates to level 6 in the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and includes any equivalent professional qualifications.
other undergraduate includes all sub-degree Higher Education. This includes CertHE, DipHE, HND, HNC, foundation degrees and professional qualifications. This normally equates to levels 4 and 5 in the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and includes any equivalent qualifications validated by non-UK universities.
If you meet both these criteria we strongly encourage you to participate in the research and help the UK Government form a clearer picture of privately funded HE provision in the UK.
If you are a UK university
Although this research is focused on privately funded providers of higher education (i.e. not publicly funded Higher Education Institutions), we will be contacting all UK universities to ask you to complete a short survey on your interactions and partnerships with privately funded HE providers. The survey will be distributed by Universities UK. If you wish to register early interest in participating, please contact Tristram Hughes at CFE (contact details above).
Participating in the research
BIS would strongly encourage all privately funded providers delivering higher education provision in the UK to participate in this research. A full understanding of this type of HE provider is only possible with your support.
We wish to produce as full a picture as possible of the number and characteristics of privately funded HE providers in the UK as well as information about the students that enrol with them.
The research will take place in the following stages:
This stage will be undertaken by the project team based on existing lists of privately funded providers. However, to ensure your organisation is included, please contact Tristram Hughes at CFE (firstname.lastname@example.org, 0116 2293300).
Privately funded provider data return.
BIS is requesting that all privately funded providers of HE operating in the UK complete a standard data return, providing information on the nature of their organisation and on their student numbers. The data collected will support comparisons across the UK HE sector, including with data from publicly funded universities and Further Education colleges providing HE. The data return will be distributed to the providers identified in the initial mapping exercise and will take the form of an Excel spreadsheet template. If your organisation has not received the data return template by 18 May 2012, please contact Tristram Hughes at CFE (see above for contact details).
Privately funded provider telephone survey.
The research team will contact a sub-group of privately funded providers to ask them some follow-up questions in a telephone survey. If your organisation is contacted, BIS encourage you to participate in this 15 minute interview.
Online survey of students at private providers.
As well as collecting data from providers, we also wish to understand more about students at privately funded providers, their characteristics and experiences. We therefore request that privately funded providers distribute a short online survey by email to their current students. Providers that are able to achieve a minimum number of responses (50 student responses, or 50% of their student body, whichever is smaller) will receive a summary report of their students’ aggregated responses. The project team will contact providers following the data return stage to provide a link to the survey that can be distributed by email.
Remember, we can only include your organisation in the research if we are aware of you! To ensure you are included in the research, please register your interest with Tristram Hughes at CFE (see above for contact details).