Legislating for private providers: White Paper dilemmas
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 | Admin
Legislating for private providers: White Paper dilemmas by G R Evans
In November 2010, the British Government, modifying one of the proposals in the Browne Report published in October, decided to allow English universities to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000, while removing almost all the public funding previously provided in the form of a block grant. This had consequences the Government should perhaps have foreseen. HEIs, unsure whether they could remain financially viable if they did not, went for the highest fee allowed. The consequence is that the new system could cost the taxpayer more in providing loans for students at this level than the continuance of direct public funding would have done. Policy was developed to reduce this cost, and one of the ideas which emerged was to allow more providers into the system, including private providers. This has prompted discussion of the resulting value for money, for students and for taxpayers, and then of the meaning of ‘value’, and then of the need to protect the quality of the courses on offer and the 'value' of the resulting qualifications. A number of changes seem likely to be necessary in consequence, among them the revision of the rules for granting degree-awarding powers and university title to private providers both profit-making and non-profit-making. This article explores the case for and against these changes.
Higher Education Review, 44, 1: 3-14
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