In the absence of new higher education legislation, the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills has issued criteria for the regulation of alternative providers of higher education courses. The regulation will derive its authority from the exercise of the Secretary of State's statutory power to designate courses as eligible for students to obtain loans and grants from the Student Loans Company. The consultation on the draft criteria closed on 10 May 2013 and a final version will be published. The criteria for designation are threefold: quality assurance; financial sustainability, management and governance; and, specific course designation criteria. Alternative providers will be required to have a successful review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) before making an application for designation. The process for designation will be managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Transitional provisions will apply to those providers which already have designated courses. An accountable officer will be required to sign a terms and conditions document for designation. The conditions will include obligations for annual monitoring, the provision of data and a duty to report changes of circumstances (such as ownership which will trigger a reassessment). It is proposed that from 2014/15 the conditions will include student number controls for each alternative provider. Sanctions may be imposed, including the service of "improvement notices", restricting student numbers and withdrawing designation.  It will be important for alternative providers to consider the details of the criteria carefully and the timings and deadlines (some imminent) of different aspects of this new regulatory landscape.