The government is set to push ahead with plans to create a new generation of universities by lowering the qualifying threshold for university title from 4,000 to 1,000 students.
Times Higher Education understands that easing the path to university title for small institutions is expected to be a central feature in the government’s responses to consultations on last year’s higher education White Paper.
The move is one of the policies announced in the White Paper that does not require legislation through a new higher education bill.
The White Paper set out plans to change the criteria for degree-awarding powers and university title as a way of making it “easier for new providers to enter the sector”.
However, the proposed expansion of private provision via the opening of degree-awarding powers to non-teaching bodies will require legislation. Degree-awarding powers are, and will remain, a prerequisite for obtaining university title – leaving expansion on this front partially blocked.
The government is expected to publish its responses to the White Paper consultation and the technical consultation on the regulatory framework after Parliament returns from the Whitsun recess on 11 June.