Fighting fund banner


UCU responds to select committee's report on higher education white paper

10 November 2011

Union says select committee right to highlight dangers of for-profit higher education providers and criticise delays to white paper

UCU today backed calls for the government to urgently reconsider plans to allow for-profit higher education providers access to increased public funds without passing regulatory standards.
The union was responding to the influential business, innovation and skills committee's report on the government's reforms of higher education, which also criticises delays to the government's higher education white paper.
The union said it was pleased that the report also drew attention to warnings from the funding council that for-profit institutions could damage the UK's international reputation for academic excellence.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We are not alone in our concerns about for-profit education providers having access to more of taxpayers' money without facing the same regulations as our public universities. A cursory glance across the pond to America details the extent of the problems we may face without proper regulation of those seeking to make a fast buck out of our education system.
'While for-profits account for just 10% of students in the US, they eat up 25% of student loans subsidy and have appalling recruitment and post-study employment rates. They are also subject to a host of scandals around the mis-selling of degrees to some of the country's most vulnerable individuals.
'The select committee is right to criticise the government's delays in producing the higher education white paper. However, the farce did not end there as earlier this week we discovered a fifth of universities now wish to lower their fees after the government changed the rules about student places.'
See also:

27 universities ask to drop tuition fees after government shifts goalposts

UK university reputation at risk from sub-prime 'for-profit' colleges government warned

UCU is hosting a Commons screening of US broadcaster PBS's critically-acclaimed College Inc documentary on Monday (14 November) in the Macmillan Room, Portcullis House from 7.30-9.00pm.
The screening will be followed by a debate on the dangers of for-profit providers. Panellists will include Labour's higher education spokeswoman Shabana Mahmood and business, innovation and skills select committee members Brian Binley and Paul Blomfield.
Journalists wishing to attend the event should email:


Last updated: 11 December 2015