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Higher education providers sign up to student protection guidelines (THE)

11 November 2015

Times Higher Education reported on the new Statement of Good Practice on course changes and closures in Higher Education.

Higher education providers that close courses should offer students alternative programmes or help them transfer to another institution, and offer them a refund if this is not possible.

This is according to new guidelines that have been agreed by membership organisations including Universities UK, GuildHE and the Independent Universities Group. The Association of Colleges and Study UK, which represents independent providers, has also put its name to the document, which was released after the government announced plans for new student protection requirements as part of the higher education Green Paper.

The article quoted Study UK's Chief Executive Alex Proudfoot as saying that the code of practice would help providers in “meeting the challenge of the Green Paper head on”.

But he said that current rules meant that it would be impossible for independent providers to teach out international students in the event of the institution losing its visa sponsorship licence.

“International students…have waited for too long for their interests to be put at the heart of our regulatory framework,” Mr Proudfoot said. “All healthy markets experience some volatility, but the investment of time, energy and money that students make in their higher education is on such a unique scale that we must do more to protect them from such events.”