The government has defended the public financing of for-profit higher education providers and has said that it wants widening participation funding to be “better targeted”.

The comments came in the government’s much-delayed response to a report on the coalition’s higher education reforms published in November 2011 by the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

In the response, published today, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills responds to concerns from MPs on the select committee that it was “not clear” from a government consultation whether commercial providers “will be able to profit directly from tuition fee income backed by public student loans”.

BIS says that via its designation of which private courses are eligible for Student Loans Company funding, for-profit providers “can already benefit indirectly”.

It says the student is “the direct beneficiary of the tuition fee loan, not the provider” and adds: “The government intends that for-profit providers will continue to be able to benefit indirectly from public support through government-backed fee loans.”

Read the full article at Times Higher Education