Why students should have their say on how universities and colleges are regulated

As a student, how do you know whether the course you choose is good quality? Do you feel confident that your university or college will support you throughout your time there?

Why students should have their say on how universities and colleges are regulated

We want to hear your views on how we should set minimum requirements for quality and standards in English higher education, and how we should intervene when these are not met. Here are four reasons why our proposals are directly relevant to students:

One: Great expectations

We are not called the Office for Students for nothing. If we think a university or college is not giving its students the academic experience they should expect, we will take action. But what should students expect? We are proposing to make this clearer by setting out minimum requirements for course quality and the value of qualifications. We would be really interested to know what you think about our proposals for what those minimum requirements should be: are they right or, if not, how should they be different?

Two: Equality of quality

All students – no matter their circumstances, where they are from or where they went to school  –  should experience the same minimum levels of quality and standards from their university or college. For this to happen, every university and college should understand the diverse needs of their students and provide the resources and support those students need to succeed. Does your university or college do this well? We’d like your views about our proposals to ensure universities and colleges support the students they recruit. 

Three: Virtual is now a reality

Studying online? Distance learning, commuting or living in halls? Regardless of whether a course is delivered face-to-face, online, or even overseas, we are proposing to set minimum requirements for all forms of higher education provided by universities and colleges that are registered with us. We want to hear your views on whether you think these minimum requirements would work for all types of courses and all forms of study.

Four: Student voices as standard

Students should have the opportunity to contribute to the future development of their course and their wider university or college academic experience. When we set out what we expect of universities and colleges, we want to include minimum requirements for engaging with students. This would include an expectation for universities and colleges to build in opportunities for students to:

  • join committees, including the governing body
  • provide survey responses
  • participate in activities to develop their course and the way it is delivered.

Are these the right minimum expectations to set or do you have other ideas to share with us?

Our consultation on quality and standards is open until Monday 27 September. You can read our proposals in full on our website and submit your views via the online questionnaire.

Views from student representatives have already helped to shape our proposals and we want to know whether you think they will work for students like you in practice.

As we continue to develop our approach to quality and standards, later this autumn, we will also consult on the TEF (Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework) and on how we regulate student outcomes. Subscribe to our website alerts to make sure you get notified when we publish our proposals.


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Published 16 September 2021

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