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.
- More about specific-course designation
- More about QAA reviews for specific-course designation
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.