OfS sets out approach to calculating monetary penalties

The Office for Students (OfS) has set out how it will calculate a monetary penalty when it decides to impose a penalty on a university or college.

Monetary penalties are one of a range of formal sanctions the OfS can use when it finds that a higher education provider has breached one or more of the OfS’s conditions of registration.

The OfS consulted on proposals about how it should calculate a monetary penalty. The consultation did not ask for views about whether the OfS should be able to use monetary penalties as a sanction, nor the circumstances in which that should happen, nor the maximum amount of penalty which is set out in legislation.

Following a thorough consideration of the consultation responses, the OfS has decided:

  • as a general principle, to calculate a monetary penalty by reference to a provider’s ‘qualifying income’ (which broadly includes all relevant fees for relevant higher education courses and OfS grants received by a provider for the relevant year)
  • to apply a five-step approach to the calculation, which takes into account a range of factors, including any mitigating and aggravating circumstances, before deciding on an appropriate penalty
  • to allow a provider to request a ‘settlement discount’ (leading to a discounted monetary penalty) in certain circumstances, where the provider agrees that it has breached a condition and accepts a monetary penalty
  • to recover the OfS’s costs in relation to the imposition of sanctions where appropriate.
Full details are set out in new guidance published today
Published 08 July 2021

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