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Regulation of higher education

Effective regulation is essential to provide accountability for public funds, protect the interests of students and safeguard the reputation of UK higher education.

We are working closely with government, the funding bodies and the Quality Assurance Agency to make sure regulation and quality assurance continues to be effective now and into the future. We work with the national funding bodies to ensure there is a consistent approach to quality assessment across the UK.

Our current areas of focus include the government's Higher Education White Paper and the related Higher Education and Research Bill. The bill includes proposals for the establishment of an Office for Students, the Teaching Excellence Framework, and the entry of new providers into the higher education 'market'. ​

As these reforms are developed and introduced, we aim to ensure that:

  • there is consistency and comparability of arrangements across the whole of the UK
  • external quality assessment is proportionate, risk based and founded on effective institutional assurance arrangements
  • the sector maintains a shared and robust baseline of quality
  • regulation protects students against transient, negligent and poor quality providers

UK higher education is a global success story. It generates £27.9 billion in revenue, employs over 262,700 staff and has over two million students. There are nearly 200 universities with degree awarding powers, most of which are members of Universities UK. These universities range from small specialists to large multi-faculty institutions, each with their own distinctive strengths and missions. The success of UK higher education is founded on the diversity and autonomy of its universities. 

Copyright Working Group

We also co-convene, with GuildHE, a group responsible for negotiating copyright licences on behalf of the higher education sector.

Provision of information on higher education

Provision of information about higher education: outcomes of consultation and next steps

Report
16 June 2011
This joint report by Universities UK, GuildHE and the Higher Education Funding Council for England sets out how to improve the accessibility and usefulness of information about higher education.

Review of external examining arrangements in universities and colleges in the UK: Final report and recommendations

Report
7 April 2011
An outline of the final recommendations of the review of external examining arrangements undertaken by UUK and GuildHE.

Report front cover

Research report: Variable tuition fees in England: assessing their impact on students and HEIs

Report
12 August 2008
The third annual report on the effects of the introduction of the new higher education fees arrangements for UK and EU-domiciled full-time undergraduates attending higher education institutions in England.

Breaking down the barriers report cover

Beyond the honours degree classification: The Burgess Group final report

Report
16 October 2007
This report considers the honours degree classification system, which measures a student’s performance on an undergraduate honours degree programme.

Report front cover

Variable Tuition Fees in England – Second report

Report
26 June 2007
This is the second annual report on the effects of the introduction of the new higher education fees arrangements for UK and EU domiciled full-time undergraduates attending higher education institutions in England.

Report front cover

Variable tuition fees in England: assessing their impact on students and HEIs

Report
14 February 2007
This is the first of what is intended to be a regular series of short publications. It will enable the effects of the new variable fees arrangements for UK and EU domiciled full-time undergraduates attending Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Events

Blogs

Setting up the Office for Students: what's new?

19 October 2017
UUK's William Hammonds highlights key points for the higher education sector in the consulation for the new regulatory framework for the Office for Students.

Research misconduct: how universities are addressing the issue

30 March 2017
Jamie Arrowsmith, Programme Manager at Universities UK, discusses the progress universities have made in addressing research misconduct.

News

Universities UK President conference speech: having policies and strategies in place to address harassment is not enough

8 November 2017
Professor Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, has said that all strategies designed to address harassment must be accompanied by activities to support cultural change in our universities.

Response to consultation on the Office for Students

19 October 2017
A statement from Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, in response to the consultation on the shape of the new Office for Students.

The team

Emily Darian

Emily Darian

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

William Hammonds

William Hammonds

Programme Manager
Universities UK

Samuel Roseveare

Samuel Roseveare

Policy Researcher
Universities UK