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Higher Education: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN 139464, tabled on 14 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Office for Students has an integrated model to assess the potential impact of ongoing, multiple and systemic risks to the financial sustainability of higher education providers.

Answered on

24 March 2022

The department is encouraged by the National Audit Office’s conclusion that the Office for Students (OfS) makes good use of the financial data it collects, analysing it in a systematic and structured way to identify higher education (HE) providers for closer scrutiny.

The OfS has announced that they are planning to enhance data collection through the development of an integrated model. The model will bring together and assess the impacts of ongoing, multiple, and systemic risks to financial sustainability, and carry out sensitivity analysis or test scenarios. The department is confident that this will subsequently help inform the OfS’ assessment of risk in individual providers.

Department officials also meet regularly with the OfS to maintain an up to date understanding of their work.

The department will observe the development of the integrated model through various engagements. It will specifically do so through the HE financial sustainability oversight group. The group is a cross government, departmental and non-departmental public body group whose purpose is to carry out collective oversight of the financial sustainability of the HE sector in England.