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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Our statutory duty to assure quality

It is our statutory duty, under section 70 of the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992, to provide for the assessment of the quality of the education at  institutions for  whose activities we provide financial support. We currently meet this duty by contracting with the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to carry out quality assessment reviews.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)'s work

QAA carries out different types of review and reviews different types of institutions.

It reviews all HEFCE-funded institutions, using the Higher Education review method. It also reviews those ‘alternative providers’ which the Government has allowed to run courses on which students can access loans and grants from the Student Loans Company.  

HEFCE administers this process of ‘specific-course designation’ for alternative providers, and QAA’s reviews form an important part of this work.   

QAA's role also includes advising the Government about institutions applying for degree-awarding powers and university title.

The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)

QAA is a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), and is included in the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).  

An external review of QAA was carried out in May 2013 to enable QAA to continue its membership of ENQA and inclusion on the register.

Both ENQA and EQAR require members to conform to the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. 

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

We currently contract with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to assess the quality of education in institutions to which we provide financial support.

The contract sets out the activities that we expect the QAA to carry out in relation to quality assessment during the year. It also includes a list of institutions to be reviewed, and details of the regular information that we expect the QAA to provide us with.

Contract with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

Download the HEFCE-QAA_contract_2015-16 as PDF (27,974 KB)


More information about the QAA is available on the QAA website or by emailing

Page last updated 8 June 2016