How to register

These pages provide a summary of how to register with the Office for Students (OfS).

Providers should read our full guidance before submitting their application:

For further information about what it means for a provider to register with the OfS, the benefits of registration (including the fees that registered providers can charge) and the conditions a provider must meet, please see our guide to registration.


For a provider to be eligible to register with the OfS:

  • it must deliver (or intend to deliver) higher education
  • it must be English – this means that more than 50 per cent of its education activities are carried on in England
  • it must be an institution – it is usually a distinct legal entity and must be able to demonstrate that it can satisfy the initial and ongoing conditions of registration in its own right.

Registration requirements

The OfS will register a provider where it:

  • has applied to be registered in one of the categories of the Register
  • is, or intends to become, an English higher education provider
  • satisfies the 'initial conditions of registration' applicable to the relevant category of the Register
  • has made a correct application that contains all of the required information.

When to apply

Providers can apply to register at any time.

Providers applying in the Approved (fee cap) category of registration and intending to charge higher fees will be required to submit an access and participation plan to satisfy condition A1 and should be aware of submission deadlines for this.

We expect providers to make a complete application no more than three months after their initial submission. You should therefore consider the time needed to prepare the required documentation when planning your application. Where audited accounts are required, you should engage with prospective auditors early to understand timeframes for delivering this.

Providers should be clear in their communication with applicants that the availability of student support and fee levels (where these will be subject to a fee limit) are subject to the OfS’s decision about registration.


We do not charge a fee for registration. However, there may be costs associated with parts of the registration process, and once registered there are ongoing costs.

In most cases, we will conduct a quality and standards assessment before making a decision on registration. The fee for an assessment is currently £28,463. In commencing an assessment of quality and standards, we will issue a fee notice to the provider for this charge which will specify the period within which the amount must be paid in full.

Ongoing costs of registration

Registered providers are required to pay the following annual fees:

Other ongoing requirements

The following publications are particularly important and we strongly encourage providers seeking registration to read these carefully and consider whether they have the capacity to meet our requirements before applying for registration:

Last updated 15 December 2023
15 December 2023
Updates to reflect changes to the quality assessments process and timescales.
14 October 2022
Content refreshed - updated version of regulatory advice 3 published
01 May 2022
Changes to quality and standards requirements are now in effect
02 March 2022
Information published about changes to quality and standards requirements from 1 May 2022
16 December 2020
Update to the latest information about applying to register with the OfS.
23 April 2020
Note added about registration applications during the coronavirus pandemic

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