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Value for money report needed for Alternative Providers

December 11, 2014

I have an opinion piece in today’s Times Higher Education. It recommends that Monday’s evidence session at the Public Accounts Committee should call for a full ‘value for money’ inquiry into the funding of students at alternative providers.

Beyond the confusion about measuring student progression, the clear test ought to be how many funded students achieve an HE qualification. The fundamentals do not appear to be in place for BIS to check that at present.

Vince Cable admitted that a ‘lot of dross’ has come into funded provision since 2012 but appears to lack the appetite or legal powers to deal with matters. In particular, BIS appear to have no desire to ask basic questions about recruitment practices. Lots of private colleges used Opportunity Network or similar outfits, for instance.

There also appears to be a widespread redefinition of widening participation coming from the private sector which forgets that HE is offered on the basis that the applicant can benefit from that level of study. The coalition’s reforms skewed the incentive towards recruitment to HE, when many new students might benefit from lower levels of education first. But other post-compulsory education does not attract the maintenance support or tuition fee loans to the same level.






From → New Providers

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