You need cookies enabled

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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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.


You need cookies enabled

Applying to join the regulated sector

We have published separate pages which explain how to apply to the gateways described in this guide. Institutions can now apply for:

How is HE regulated?

The 'Operating Framework for HE' explains how HE providers are held to account and regulated in England.

Read the framework


HE providers in England are a wide range of organisations. There are no restrictions over which providers can teach post-secondary education.

Universities, colleges of higher education, colleges of further education, and a wide variety of other institutions, charities and companies can all run HE programmes.

These providers can be for-profit and not-for-profit organisations.

What is the regulated sector?

To become part of the regulated HE sector, institutions must have one or more of several features.

These features are described within a ‘regulatory framework’, which covers:

These are the 'gateways' to the HE system. The operating framework for HE describes the gateways and the framework of regulation in more detail.

Page last updated 15 September 2015

Related content