Skip to main content

Higher Education: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN 104387, tabled on 14 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the financial viability of Higher Education providers.

Answered on

21 January 2022

The Office for Students (OfS) are responsible for monitoring provider financial viability of the higher education sector in England.

I and my officials work closely with the OfS and various parties including a variety of universities across the sector, mission groups and other government departments to understand the ongoing impacts and changing landscape of financial sustainability in the sector.

The OfS report dated December 2021 shows that despite the many operational and financial challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the overall financial position of universities, colleges and other providers registered with the OfS across the higher education sector has remained sound over the course of the last year, with generally reasonable financial resilience.

Providers were able to manage COVID-19 impacts better than originally expected, with student numbers holding up, and through careful management of cash and costs. Government support measures have served to help universities navigate those challenges.

The OfS continuously monitors provider financial sustainability, engaging more closely with those where it considers there to be increased financial risk.

Universities are autonomous businesses and continue to remain responsible for the decisions they make regarding their business model and sustainability.