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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

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