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Regulation of for-profit education is not 'coherent', warns new report

5 May 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today backed calls for tighter regulation of for-profit education providers.

Responding to a new report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), which warns that the current regulatory system is not 'coherent', UCU called on the government to heed the lessons from America.
The US Senate is currently investigating for-profit education providers after a string of scandals in the States, and today's HEPI report calls for a 'comprehensive' Private Higher Education Act to maintain quality and standards, and protect students.
UCU has continually warned that the for-profit model is fraught with danger, and pointed to the report's study of America, which details how for-profits are failing to retain students and are cherry-picking the most profitable courses, when 'the state sector could offer a better quality of education, if funded to do so'.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We urgently need tougher regulation of for-profit companies if we are to protect quality and standards in our higher education system. As events in America have shown the for-profit model is fraught with danger for students and taxpayers alike and it is essential that our government rethinks its decision to embrace it.
'As today's report shows, in its study of for-profits in America, publicly-funded education delivered by established providers offers a better quality of education.'
The HEPI report comes just a month after the government increased the maximum loan available for students at private universities from just over £3,000 to £6,000, in a move the universities minister, David Willetts, described as a step towards bringing in more private providers of higher education.