Public Accounts Committee

Higher education market inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine the Higher Education market on Monday 12 March 2018.

Scope of the inquiry

Over 2 million people are students at a Higher Education institution in England, mostly at universities. Since 2012, Higher Education institutions have been able to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000, and caps on student numbers were removed in 2015/16 to increase access and allow popular providers to expand.

A recent National Audit Office investigation examined the operation of the market for Higher Education in England. It found that since 2012 87 out of 90 universities have begun to charge the full £9,000 tuition for courses, whilst in the same time frame the number of students satisfied with the value for money of their course has dropped from 50% to 32%.

The NAO was concerned that consumers in the Higher Education market did not have the same protections as with other complex products like financial services., and that they could not easily influence the quality of courses.

In April 2018, the Office for Students will begin government-approved regulation of the higher Education Market.

The Committee will ask representatives from the Department for Education and Office for Students how they will ensure that the Higher Education market works to the benefit of those paying into it. The Committee will also hear views from other experts in the field.

Latest evidence

  • 12 Mar 2018 - Higher Education Market - oral evidence | PDF version (PDF232 KB) HC 693 | Published 15 Mar 2018

    Evidence given by Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive, University Alliance, Amatey Doku, Vice President (Higher Education), National Union of Students, Dennis Farrington, Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy StudiesJonathan Slater, Permanent Secretary, Dr Philippa Lloyd, Director General, Higher and Further Education, Department for Education, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive, Office for Students

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