Barking and Dagenham College has become the third provider to be rejected from the Office for Students’ (OfS) higher education register.
Its application was refused because the college did not meet condition B3, which is focused on quality of student outcomes.
The college sought an injunction to prevent the OfS from making the decision public. This was refused in a High Court ruling last week.
Background: Second college refused place on HE register
Being registered by the OfS, the independent regulator of higher education in England, is crucial for colleges wanting to be able to provide HE provision. It affects whether they can access public grant and student support funding and apply to recruit international students. It also determines the fee levels they can charge.
College HE plans blocked
College principal and CEO Yvonne Kelly said that the OfS had failed to consider and appreciate the richness of the college’s offer and outcomes.
She said: “Further education colleges open up the opportunity to study at a higher level to people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to access higher education.
“The college plays an important role in widening participation and social mobility within our community and we are very proud of it. Removal of our direct HE funding reduces the opportunities for our community and marginalises the people within it.
“Our priority, as ever, is our students and our staff and we will do everything we can to minimise any impact on them arising from the OfS’ decision and will continue to support them and our community in accessing opportunities."
The college said that it will continue to offer higher education provision up to MBA level with university partners.
'Defending students' interests'
Susan Lapworth, director of competition and registration at the Office for Students, said: “We welcome the court’s judgment which allows us to publish an important regulatory decision in the interests of current and prospective students. This means that all students will have the information necessary to make informed choices about their studies. The OfS is prepared to defend vigorously the interests of students through the courts and, as in this case, we will seek to recoup the costs of such litigation.
“The Office for Students is working with the college in order for it to have the opportunity to apply to ‘teach out’ its current students. Being granted designation for teach out would mean that continuing students, subject to individual eligibility, would be able to continue to access student support from the Student Loans Company.”