Public Accounts Committee

Higher education market inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 15 June 2018. Government response published 9 October 2018.

Report and response published

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.


Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on the higher education market.


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