Universities and colleges that subscribe to the higher education regulator will be able to display the QAA logo if they achieve positive outcomes in their institutional-level reviews.
For past audits, this means that they have been awarded a “confidence” judgement in all the areas assessed by the QAA, or that they have taken the necessary action after receiving a “limited confidence” judgement.
The scheme – similar to the “Kitemark” system used to indicate the safety of consumer products – is designed to act as an official seal of approval from the QAA, which oversees quality and standards in the sector.
The quality mark comprises the QAA logo together with the year in which the institution was last reviewed. Until now, the QAA has limited the use of its logo, which is a registered trademark.
In their White Paper last year, government ministers called for more use of such quality marks in higher education to help inform students about the quality of courses and institutions.
Anthony McClaran, chief executive of the QAA, said the move would improve public understanding of standards and quality in higher education.
“As an independent and trusted agency, we believe that the QAA’s quality mark will reassure prospective students at home and overseas that the academic standards and quality of the institution to which they are applying meet nationally agreed expectations,” he said.
John Vinney, vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University, said he was keen to use the new quality mark.
“It is an easily recognisable international badge of excellence that will give instant reassurance to students and the public that Bournemouth University offers a high-quality learning environment and a great student experience,” he said.
“We will be wearing our badge with pride.”
Peter Fidler, vice-chancellor of the University of Sunderland, added: “We very much welcome the introduction of the new quality mark, which makes the QAA’s role in the assurance of quality and standards more transparent and visible to the public as well as to the sector.
“In an increasingly diverse market, we believe this mark acts as a standard of quality for established providers and supports the recognition of the UK’s higher education brand at home and overseas.”