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UCU repeats calls for regulation of private education providers as Vince Cable admits there's 'a lot of dross'

7 October 2014

Responding to Vince Cable's admission that the expansion of private providers in higher education has let in 'a lot of dross' UCU today reiterated its call for government to bring in stringent new regulation and inspection.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat conference earlier today, the business secretary, who grants private providers access to the public money through student loans, admitted while spending on student support at these institutions has soared to nearly £1bn this year, their benefits were "ambiguous".
Mr Cable told the audience at the Social Market Foundation thinktank event, 'The aspect of [the expansion of student numbers] that worries that what we have done is opened the door to private sector alternative providers, including for-profit companies. Some of these have been very good, really outstanding, innovative institutions.
'But there's a lot of dross and some of those operations are providing cheap and cheerful courses, recruiting students who then get maximum grant...'
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Vince Cable is the one who personally signs off the approval for these colleges. If he is worried about the dross he is letting in then perhaps he needs to hold off on the rubber stamping. The number of courses and for-profit providers has increased enormously under his direction.
'We have repeatedly called for private providers to be subject to the same regulation as our public universities but our calls have fallen on deaf ears.'
Last updated: 10 December 2015