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Independent providers call for comprehensive student protection scheme in the UK

11 November 2015

Study UK welcomes the publication by HEFCE today of the 'Statement of Good Practice on higher education course changes and closures', and we were pleased to work with colleagues across the higher education sector to draw together existing good practice in developing it. 

The statement expresses an important ambition for all HE providers to recognise and protect the interests of students when unforeseen or unfortunate events lead to changes in provision. It is regrettable, therefore, that the current regulatory framework makes it impossible for independent providers to achieve continuity of provision in many cases – notably for international students, whom independent providers are unreasonably and inexplicably barred from 'teaching out' in the event that the Home Office withdraws their Tier 4 sponsor licence.

The recent Higher Education Green Paper ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’ has called necessary attention to the challenge of effective student protection. Study UK urges the Government and the whole sector to work together to design a comprehensive system of protections with universal coverage for UK and international students. 

Study UK Chief Executive Alexander Proudfoot said:

“We must build on this voluntary Statement of Good Practice, realising its vision for supporting higher education providers and their students across the sector, while meeting the challenge of the Green Paper head on.

“The last Government aimed to put ‘students at the heart of the system’, but international students in particular have waited for too long for their interests to be put at the heart of our regulatory framework. After major political and structural change, some volatility in the sector is inevitable. 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.

“The sector has shown that it is ready to step up and take the lead on this issue. We now need both BIS and the Home Office to join us and complete the regulatory changes required to make our ambitions a reality.”

Notes

1. The statement of good practice is available to download below. It was developed by a working group of representatives of HEFCE, GuildHE, the Association of Colleges, the National Union of Students, Study UK and the Independent Universities Group.

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