The UK is home to some of the most respected universities in the world, with an enviable global reputation atop world league tables. We must ensure that this university system provides as many life-changing opportunities to as many people as possible, allowing everyone to fulfil their potential.
That is why we will be ending student number controls at universities, extending these opportunities to more people than ever before. If we are to continue to succeed as an economy driven by knowledge, we cannot stand still and take our universities’ reputation for granted. By allowing more students to go to university, we will continue to lead the world in higher education.
We committed in our manifesto to ensure that universities were delivering the best possible value for money to students as well as to the taxpayers who underwrite our higher education system. As such, we will be making it easier for high-quality new providers and ‘challenger institutions’ to enter the sector and award degrees, giving students even more high quality choice, while boosting competition to improve teaching quality.
A new Office for Students will also be established, to act as a new regulator for higher education. The OfS will encourage competition and promote choice, while a new transparency duty will shine a spotlight on where higher education institutions can do more to promote social mobility, and give students more data on outcomes – allowing them to make more informed course choices based on the employment rates of past graduates.
In addition to this, the Government is protecting the Science Budget and delivering on our manifesto commitment to invest record amounts in research infrastructure; £6.9 billion by 2021. This will ensure that universities have the funding they need to lead the world in research, affording the next generation access to high quality university resources.
The data shows that our reforms since 2010 are working. Record number of students secured university places last year, while students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are continuing to apply at a record rate. We will continue to build on this success, helping ensure that everyone with the potential to succeed at university can choose from a wide range of high-quality institutions, irrespective of their background.