Office for Students regulatory framework revealed

On Wednesday the Office for Students regulatory framework was published, following the recent consultation.

Wonkhe provided an insightful ‘what you need to know’ overview of the documents to date:

  1. Despite passing the research brief on to UKRI, OfS will cost more overall than HEFCE
  2. The Basic category of providers has been dropped as too risky, with no alternative measures proposed. This leaves more providers unregulated (602) than regulated (531), according to HEPI calculations.
  3. There’s little clarity even now about how New Degree Awarding Powers will be awarded, although research degrees are now excluded to avoid risk to reputations
  4. Smaller providers will be charged less than expected, but medium-sized providers are particularly hard-hit by subscription fee hikes, with seventeen paying a bumper 50% more than initially proposed
  5. Those subs are set according to the number of FTE students, with University Title available if over 55% of them are studying at Level 6 or above
  6. After feedback a new governance “principle” has been introduced to ensure that “all students have opportunities to engage”, though there’ll be no enforcement of students on boards where it isn’t already an institutions’ policy
  7. The OfS will now look beyond just the academic experience of students, at the “non-academic experience” too
  8. It’s looking like the new revised Quality Code will go ahead in March as proposed, with student engagement a core practice
  9. An “accounts direction” will call for more transparency about staff packages over £100,000
  10. Schedule 2 of HERA flicks the switch on the parliamentary approval process, so after 1st April all future fee-cap rises will need to be passed by a vote in both Houses, rather than the old 2004 act process (WONKHE, 2018)


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