UCU calls for stricter checks on for-profit colleges

The UCU says for-profit colleges risk damaging the proud reputation of UK higher education and must face much stricter checks.

Speaking as the BBC aired a Panorama investigation into fraudulent abuse of student loans at a private for-profit college, the union said the government should rethink plans to make it easier for for-profit providers to recruit students and access taxpayers’ money via the student loans system. Private colleges have previously been involved in high-profile scandals and government investigations.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “The for-profit sector has been beset by scandals involving the fraudulent claiming of public money, yet the government’s response has been to make it even easier for them to recruit students and access taxpayers’ money.

“Our higher education is an international success story and we cannot risk harming its reputation. If we are going to have these for-profit companies in our higher education system they must be properly regulated. We need a powerful regulator that is able to deal with for-profit providers and recognises the extra risk they pose.”

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