Recent reports in THE have highlighted concerns about the standards of the private providers designated for student support ("QAA in the dark on 63 of 94 private providers", 23 February; "Enigma variations", 1 March). The QAA has access to information about a broad range of private providers, from those that voluntarily subscribe to us and take part in institutional review to those that offer awards through our collaborative review activities. We also have information about the private colleges that recruit international students through our review for educational oversight.
However, the QAA does not directly review the private colleges offering higher-level awards to non-international students, and we share concerns that this leaves a gap in the UK sector's quality assurance framework. We welcome the government's intention (as seen in the technical consultation on the higher education White Paper) to require every provider designated for student-support funding to be subject to the same standards.
Anthony McClaran, Chief executive, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education