Barking and Dagenham College is thought to have been removed from the Home Office’s list of registered student sponsors at the end of August.
Although no university has had its licence suspended since London Metropolitan University in July last year, the move is a sign that the Home Office is still willing to cut off what can be a crucial financial lifeline for UK education institutions.
The college offers degree courses validated by the universities of East London, Northampton and the Creative Arts. In 2011 it had around 7,500 students, with almost 300 on higher education courses, according to a Quality Assurance Agency report.
Its longest standing partnership is with the University of East London, which validates an MBA, a BA in business management and foundation degrees in animation and creative video, 3D design and photography.
A spokeswoman for the college said it was “currently in negotiations with the UKBA [UK Border Agency]”.
It is unclear why the licence has been suspended, and a spokeswoman for the Home Office did not comment on the issue.
Although the college has been absent from the publicly available sponsor list since at least 2 September, it appears not to have known or been informed of this until this week.
When Times Higher Education contacted the college on 3 September, a spokeswoman said: “Thanks for drawing our attention to the list, but we can confirm that Barking and Dagenham College continues to hold a licence to sponsor international students”.
A spokeswoman for UEL said that it was “a matter between the Home Office and Barking and Dagenham College”.
London Met’s licence was revoked by the Home Office in August 2012 after its initial suspension in July. The licence was then reinstated in April this year.