Ministers have introduced a system of “due diligence checks” for private higher education providers, it has emerged, as new figures show that the number of their students accessing state-funded loans has nearly doubled in a year.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has introduced the checks to oversee the financial sustainability of providers seeking to have their courses “designated” in order to allow access to Student Loans Company funding by their students.

The development comes as figures presented at a recent conference by Gordon Mackenzie, deputy director of higher education funding and strategy at BIS, show that the number of students accessing publicly subsidised loans at “alternative providers” has grown from 4,300 in 2009-10 and 5,860 in 2010-11, to 9,360 in the first six months of 2011-12.

Read the full article at Times Higher Education