November 4, 2010

Higher Education in the Age of Austerity: The role of private providers

Current guidelines state that only institutions with permanent degree awarding powers can call themselves a ‘university’. But only state-maintained institutions are allowed to have permanent degree awarding powers.

This circular situation neatly cuts out private institutions from the most prestigious title in higher education. We believe strongly that access to university title should be decided according to an institution’s quality, and not its legal status, so we recommend that the Government immediately end this institutionalised discrimination against private higher education providers.

In the new system outlined by Lord Browne, universities will face a harsher competitive environment. In the past, the Government has simply kept struggling universities afloat. A much better solution is to make use of the capital and expertise in the private education sector, and encourage private providers to step in and take over the failing university, in whole or in part.


Alex Massey

Education Research Fellow, 2009-2011

Greg Munro

Education Research Fellow, 2010

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