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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Terms and costs

Subscriber benefits

Subscription enables providers to have a close working relationship with QAA, with opportunities to further enhance the quality of their provision for students. The core subscription enables collective sector ownership of the quality architecture and supports activities that maintain and promote the reputation of UK higher education across the globe.

Subscription includes the following activities:​

  • UK Quality Code stewardship 
  • Infrastructure to support and safeguard a UK-wide, independent system for Degree Awarding Powers and Univeristy Title
  • Promotion and protection of UK higher education internationally
  • Quality Enhancement Network and other enhancement-led and capacity building services
  • Student engagement support advice and guidance
  • Regulation of the Access to Higher Education Diploma 
  • Coordination with professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs)
  • Institutional and sector analysis
  • Policy development

Subscription rates

For publicly funded providers of higher education

Subscription rates for the academic year 2016-17

Student numbers​Band​Description
Up to 1,000​A​£2,875
​1,001 to 4,000​B​£6,180
​4,001 to 7,000​C​£12,721
​7,001 to 10,000​D​£19,522
​10,001 to 15,000​E​£26,028
​15,001 to 20,000​F​£32,536
​20,001 to 30,000​G​£36,000
​30,001 and aboveH​​£45,000


For non-publicly funded providers of higher education


Subscription rates for the academic year 2016-17

​Student numbers


​Subscription amount
​Up to 1,000​A-NPF£​13,350
​1,001 to 5,000​B-NPF​£18,350
​5,001 to 10,000​C-NPF​£23,350
10,001 to 15,000​E​£26,028


These rates have been set to ensure that non-publicly funded institutions are paying a full-cost subscription and that there is no cross subsidy from public funding.  These costs include the review and annual monitoring activity that non-publicly funded providers are subject to. 

For the purposes of subscriptions, the academic year runs from 1 August to the following 31 July.

If an institution makes returns to HESA, the latest final return, as published on the HESA website, will be used to determine student numbers.

For other institutions, student number data that will be used to inform subscription rates will be as follows: 

​Directly funded further education colleges in England

​Student numbers will be taken from the HEIFES 2015-16 return to HEFC​E

Directly funded further education colleges in Wales

​Student numbers for 2015-16 as provided by HEFCW

Further education colleges with indirectly funded HE ​students (i.e. students are funded by a partner HEI)

​Subscription rate is Band A as the indirectly funded students are already included in headcount of another HEI.


​Will be asked to confirm their HE headcount

New subscribers

Subscriptions are payable from the earlier of:​
  • QAA confirmation following an application
  • Privy Council approval for degree awarding powers 
  • Date ​requested by a funding body

The amount payable will be prorated to 25% for each remaining quarter of that academic year. 

For non-publicly funded providers who wish to subscribe to QAA in the future, subscription fees will no longer include costs of review and annual monitoring activity, as these costs will be invoiced as and when the activities become due.  Subscription fees will therefore be calculated and charged on the same basis as the publicly funded providers.​


Where institutions merge during an academic year, each institution shall pay a full year subscription with a single subscription due from the beginning of the next academic year. 

Subscription status

​Subscription to QAA does not confer any legal or funding benefits or status. It is not a form of institutional accreditation.

Subscribing institutions should not describe the status of subscription in a misleading or ambiguous way in promotional or marketing material. Care should be taken to avoid anything that could lead the reader to think that subscription to QAA confers any legal or funding benefits, or that it confers degree awarding powers, or that it is a form of accreditation.