The Higher Education and Research Bill today completed its passage through Parliament. Having received Royal Assent, it becomes the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.
The Act will introduce a new regulatory body for English higher education, the Office for Students.
QAA has consistently supported the reforms introduced by the Act. We believe that a single register of higher education providers, coupled with a move to risk-based regulation, reflects the regulatory needs of a much changed and increasingly varied sector.
In particular, QAA welcomes the planned designation of an independent quality body, responsible for assessing the quality of, and standards applied to, higher education. The designated quality body will also have a key role in providing expert advice on the suitability of institutions applying for degree awarding powers.
QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock said: 'Government and parliamentarians have worked tirelessly to provide an effective new framework for the benefit of students and institutions alike.
'The Act delivers protection plans for students, embeds fair access in regulation, creates a single register of providers and safeguards university autonomy in relation to academic standards.
'The key role of an independent quality body will further protect students, ensuring that standards are maintained in all institutions and that only high quality providers can award degrees. QAA intends to put itself forward to be that body.'