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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

Our vision is for world leading and independently assured higher education.

As the independent body entrusted with monitoring and advising on standards and quality in UK higher education, we are dedicated to checking that the three million students working towards a UK qualification get the higher education experiences they are entitled to expect. We ensure that students are involved all aspects of our work.

We work across all four nations of the UK. We also build international partnerships to enhance and promote the reputation of UK higher education worldwide.

Our main areas of work


The work we do supports our mission to safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education wherever it is delivered around the world. 

  • Setting and monitoring the standards of UK higher education including the development of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education
  • Working with, and for, our members across the UK to deliver services, expertise and guidance on key issues that are important to the sector and students.
  • Reviewing UK higher education wherever it is delivered in the world and publishing a report on the findings. 
  • Advising governments on applications for degree awarding powers and the right to be called a university across the UK. 
  • Training, guidance and events to help UK higher education providers develop and improve their own quality assurance processes.
  • Consultancy, training and international services to develop approaches to higher education quality both in the UK and internationally for professionals, institutions and governments.
  • Setting and monitoring the standards for Access to HE Diploma courses. We also license the agencies who develop, approve and monitor these courses. You can find out more on our Access to HE website

Regulation of UK higher education

Higher education policy and regulation is devolved among the four nations of the UK. The statutory responsibility for the registration and regulation of higher education providers sits with the respective national funders and regulators: the Office for Students in England; the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland; the Scottish Funding Council in Scotland; and the Higher Education Funding Council in Wales. The UK Quality Code applies across all jurisdictions.

QAA is the only body officially recognised to undertake independent assessments and evaluations, which are in turn used by all four bodies to inform their regulatory decision making. QAA also works with the representative bodies of UK higher education providers and our individual member institutions.

Films about our work

Our four short films explain more about the work we do across the UK and internationally. They were created in 2017, our 20th anniversary year, and feature interviews with a number of vice-chancellors and principals from across the UK higher education sector.


Our Strategy

Our strategy sets out QAA's strategic priorities.

Annual Review

Our Annual Review 2021 sets out the work we have done to safeguard academic standards and ensure the quality and global reputation of UK higher education. Throughout the year, we have supported our members in responding to and moving beyond the pandemic, producing a range of practical resources. The Review also details our work with regulators, governments and students across the UK, highlights our international activity, and features our stewardship of the Access to Higher Education Diploma.

Our full annual report and financial statements are published in the 'how we are funded' section of our website.