The Higher Education Regulator is setting tougher outcome measures on Colleges and Universities that fail to meet targets. Plans have been drawn up to impose ‘intrusive sanctions’ like fines or funding restrictions on poor quality University courses.
In a consultation launched today, the Office for Students said it aims to use numerical thresholds for student outcomes and these thresholds will be set around students’ continuation, completion and progression of courses, including degree apprenticeships. Universities and Colleges that do not meet the thresholds could face investigation, with fines or restrictions on their access to student loan funding.
The OfS has set out thresholds for full and part-time students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These thresholds are designed to set a high bar that takes account of a University or College’s individual circumstances and maintains public confidence in the performance of individual Universities and Colleges and the Higher Education sector in England more generally.
For example, for full-time students studying a first degree, the OfS’s proposed thresholds are for:
- 80 per cent of students to continue into the second year of study
- 75 per cent of students to complete their qualification
- 60 per cent of students go into professional employment or further study
This will be part of a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) that will take place over a four-year cycle. Universities will be rated gold, silver or bronze. Universities not meeting those standards would be rated ‘requires improvement’ with the figures for teaching and continuation published every year. Universities that do not take part in the TEF, have their rating suspended or are rated as ‘requires improvement’ will not be able to charge as much money.