The new funding regime for higher education has significantly shifted the landscape for the sector. Many institutions previously in receipt of funding through teaching grant are largely reliant on tuition fee income. Government reforms have sought to actively encourage new providers to enter the higher education arena, and a small number of new providers have joined established private providers operating in the sector.
The Westminster Government’s Higher Education White Paper, ‘Students at the heart of the system’, set out the need for a ‘level playing field’ for providers, and in order to better understand the landscape BIS have commissioned a mapping exercise to better understand the alternative providers in the sector.
Private institutions in higher education are diverse in size, quality and mission. Some providers operate on a not-for-profit basis, with others looking to deliver a profit. Many are looking to work closely with employers to deliver a more vocationally oriented experience, and some have close connections with public institutions. The numbers with their own degree awarding powers are growing, and it seems likely that both the number and scope of private higher education providers will expand over the coming years.