Taxpayers contribute to higher education in England in three main ways:
1. Direct grant funding for teaching – given to certain approved providers by the Office for Students (OfS)
2. Direct grant funding for academic research – given to certain approved providers by Research England
3. Subsidising the student finance system
The Office for Students promotes value for money for taxpayers by setting conditions for the funding given to providers. Examples include:
Protecting the public interest
For all approved providers, the OfS reviews governing documents to check they’re consistent with the public interest. Providers must stick to their stated governance processes and show they’re acting properly and prudently when managing public money.
All providers that access the student support system or receive grant funding must provide transparency about value for money for taxpayers.
The OfS checks that these providers publish clear information about value for money, including statements about sources of income and the way that income is used.
Acting on concerns
If OfS monitoring raises concerns about a provider, we will take action. The OfS has the power to inspect a provider and investigate whether it’s providing value for money to both students and taxpayers.