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Frequently asked questions about the TEF

1. Which higher education providers have TEF awards?

Higher education providers decide whether or not to take part in the TEF.

Browse participating providers and their TEF awards.

2. What do the gold, silver and bronze awards mean?

A provider taking part in the TEF is awarded:

  • gold for delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK
  • silver for delivering high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education
  • bronze for delivering teaching, learning and outcomes for its students that meet rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

3. What do provisional awards mean?

The higher education provider meets rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education, and is taking part in the TEF, but does not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed. The provider may be fully assessed in future when it has sufficient data.

4. How are the TEF awards decided?

The awards are decided by an independent TEF panel of experts including academics, students and employer representatives.

The provider’s undergraduate teaching is assessed against ten criteria that cover the areas of teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.

The TEF panel considers evidence from a set of metrics using national data as well as written evidence submitted by the provider. The metrics cover continuation rates, student satisfaction and employment outcomes. The metrics for each provider are benchmarked to take account of differences in its students’ characteristics, entry qualifications and subjects studied.

You can view the metrics and provider submissions by browsing the participating providers and their TEF awards.

5. Is there more information about a provider’s TEF award?

You can read a short statement by the TEF panel explaining each provider’s award by browsing the participating providers and their TEF awards.

6. What if a higher education provider doesn’t have a TEF award?

All higher education providers in the UK must meet rigorous national quality requirements for higher education. The TEF measures excellence in addition to these requirements and is voluntary. If a provider has no TEF award it may have decided not to take part. You can find out more about the national quality requirements here:  

To be eligible to take part, a provider must meet national quality requirements and teach at undergraduate level.

7. How does the TEF affect tuition fees?

The Government has previously indicated that universities and colleges in England that have a TEF award will be able to increase their tuition fees in line with inflation. The Department for Education will confirm the 2018-19 fee caps in due course.

Providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are able to take part in the TEF, with no direct impact on their tuition fees.

8. Can a provider’s TEF award change?

A provider’s TEF award may change during the year, for example as a result of a merger or an appeal. Any changes in the TEF award will be displayed immediately on HEFCE TEF web pages and the HEFCE Register.

TEF awards will also be updated on Unistats and UCAS websites although there may be a slight time lag before the update displays. The open data sets on the HEFCE web pages will be updated periodically.

Page last updated 15 August 2017