Financial support for students at alternative higher education providers - Public Accounts Contents


Approximately 140 institutions offering higher education are termed 'alternative providers'. These alternative providers comprise a diverse range of organisations ranging from private companies to charitable institutions. They do not receive government grants directly but do access public funding through student loans which are used to pay their fees. Following the announcement of higher education reforms in 2011, and the associated increase in tuition fee loans, there has been substantial and rapid growth in the sector. 40% of the publicly funded students attending these colleges are EU students, compared to 6% in the rest of the higher education sector. Between 2010/11 and 2013/14, the number of students claiming support for courses at alternative providers rose from 7,000 to 53,000. Over the same period, the total amount of public money paid to students at alternative providers, through tuition fee loans and maintenance loans and grants, has risen from around £50 million to around £675 million. The Department has overall responsibility for oversight of publicly-funded higher education, including alternative providers with publicly-funded students. The Student Loans Company is responsible for paying out loans and grants to students.

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Prepared 24 February 2015