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Charitable Status of Universities

June 18, 2015

David Willetts has given an interview to Times Higher Education to coincide with the launch of his new pamphlet.

At the end he broaches an issue I’ve flagged up repeatedly over the last fives years – changing corporate form and ditching charitable status.

“It is still a source of frustration for me that international chains like Laureate or Apollo grow when there isn’t really a British equivalent.

“A lot of universities have a trusteeship model: we’ve been around a long time, our job is to pass it on to the next generation much as it is now.

“If you want to operate like that, fine; but we need some universities with an enterprise model – to recognise a fantastic opportunity to operate in five continents, to double or treble in size, to become a great British export.

“I did think – and I still hope – that one or two universities would convert into a limited company in order to raise a large amount of money and expand. I had commercial investors saying to me that if British higher education came up with an investable proposition, they would put a billion into creating a global chain.”

Since Etingen has just bought University of Law, perhaps David will get his wish.

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