How we regulate financial sustainability within higher education

Students make a considerable investment in their studies and our regulation is designed to protect their interests. They need to be confident that they can choose a high quality course from a financially sustainable provider. These pages explain how we regulate to provide this protection for students and taxpayers.

Why we monitor financial sustainability

We monitor the financial sustainability of providers on an ongoing basis to identify those that may be exposed to material financial risks.

Where we identify that a provider is experiencing financial difficulties, we work with it to understand and assess the extent of the issues.

This may result in further engagement with the provider or, if a provider is at risk of closure, intervention to protect the interests of students. 

Our work on financial sustainability includes:

  • gathering data and intelligence to identify risk across the sector and for different types of provider
  • monitoring the current and future financial position of individual higher education providers
  • gathering intelligence to identify risk
  • taking regulatory action to protect students’ interests where providers fall into financial difficulty.

Our team includes experienced and professionally qualified accountants, experts in data and analysis, and colleagues with significant experience in the policy and legal environment for this aspect of our work.

We have successfully intervened with providers facing significant financial difficulties, ensuring they take steps to mitigate risks and to support students to continue their studies. 

Monitoring financial sustainability supports the two key areas of focus in our strategy: quality and standards of teaching and learning, and ensuring equality of opportunity in higher education.

Reporting on the sector

We regularly publish analyses of the financial sustainability of the sector and of different types of providers.

We report on the current and forecast trends providers identify in their financial returns and consider the likely future challenges facing the sector.

This supplies useful information to support providers’ financial management and planning and offers valuable information for government and other sector stakeholders, including banks and other lenders.

Published 25 April 2023
Last updated 16 May 2024
16 May 2024
We have updated the page following the release of the latest report on financial sustainability.
24 May 2023
Updated to include a link to the latest analysis of financial sustainability.

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