QAA and UKBA hosted a conference on 7 July 2011 to provide information for tier 4 sponsors about the new ‘educational oversight’ arrangements that will be offered by QAA.

QAA has put full details of the arrangements and the slides from the conference on its website. Please click here.

Key points from the conference:

  • the initial application process will open on 18 July 2011 and will close on 9 September 2011;
  • QAA and UKBA are considering measures to cater for new sponsors that cannot apply to QAA      before 9 September;
  • by 30 September 2011 QAA aims to have advised applicants as to whether or not they have met the   first stage criteria;
  • applicants that have been accepted onto the second stage of the process will be informed by 31   October 2011 of key review dates;
  • QAA will run a series of briefing sessions on its quality code in Autumn 2011; and
  • by December 2012 QAA will complete the review cycle of organisations eligible for QAA review.

Embedded colleges and colleges that teach full degrees

QAA confirmed that specific provisions will be available for embedded colleges and colleges that offer a complete degree course leading to a degree of a Recognised Body. We understand that many such organisations may not need to apply to QAA and that UKBA/QAA may consider them to be already covered via oversight arrangements through their partner university (providing, in the case of non-embedded colleges, they qualify, and are registered as, a ‘branch’ on the university’s sponsor licence.) On Friday 8 July 2011 Penningtons Solicitors LLP asked Jeremy Oppenheim to confirm if the above is accurate.

We are also exploring with UKBA/QAA how the arrangements will work where a college has complex partner arrangements and runs both taught degree courses and other courses. It is important that clarity is provided because a college which holds HTS status, that is a branch on a university's licence and is exempt from the need to apply separately to QAA, should therefore not be subject to the interim CAS limit.  

Penningtons has also asked for clarification on a comment by QAA that colleges that submit an in-time application (i.e. before 9 September) will at that stage be considered as falling under QAA’s oversight remit. If this is accurate then, under the current rules, colleges that hold HTS status and submit an application to QAA by 9 September should also be able to ask UKBA to lift the interim CAS limit placed on them.

Many of our clients will be starting to prepare their applications to QAA and we will therefore set out UKBA/QAA's response to our questions on our news page.

QAA fees

At the conference QAA stated that it is considering charging fees of:

  • £1,450 for the first stage of the application process;
  • between £17,000 - £19,000 for the second stage of the process (£59,000 - £80,000 for embedded   colleges); and
  • an annual continuing oversight fee of £4,000 - £5,000. 

QAA and UKBA have made it clear that the arrangements relating to educational oversight are still being considered and the information above may therefore be subject to change. We will provide sponsors with regular updates on our news page.