Regulation & Management
Russell Group universities are committed to openness, accountability and transparency. However, university autonomy is crucial. Government regulation should be light touch so as not to tie up universities in red tape.
As the World Bank observed in 2009, autonomy is a characteristic of world-class universities. It is no accident that the countries with the most successful universities are those that give their universities the greatest autonomy.
Quality assurance of higher education must be risk-based and proportionate, focusing resources on new providers and areas of weakness while relieving the highest performing institutions of unnecessary regulatory burden. The UK has a global reputation for the highest standards of higher education. It is important to students, the public and the UK’s position in the international higher education market that this reputation be upheld. Regulation should be focused where problems of quality are most likely to occur.
Read more in our paper on the future of quality assurance in UK higher education and in our response to the higher education green paper.
Visas and migration
Students and staff from overseas contribute enormously to our universities and to the UK more generally. But the expense and administrative burden of the visa system could be reduced to encourage more of the brightest people to come to the UK to study and work. We would like the Government to introduce a more risk-based compliance system for universities as sponsors of international students.
Benchmarks for university access
The university access benchmarks used by the Higher Education Statistics Agency and the Office for Fair Access are fundamentally flawed. They do not account for the entry requirements of universities or whether students apply in the first place, and they change year-on-year. An emphasis on targets and benchmarks for university access can distract attention from the root causes of the under-representation of less advantaged students at our universities: under-achievement at school and poor advice and guidance for pupils.