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The higher education green paper in a nutshell

Friday 6 November 2015 Higher Education

The government has today outlined new proposals for the higher education sector within its green paper. But what does it mean for students and academics?

We’ve put together a summary of the key proposals made by government in their consultation paper - Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice – to bring you up to speed with the changes outlined.

Teaching Excellence Framework

The paper outlines plans to introduce a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which includes an inflationary rise in fees for those passing ‘TEF 1’. 

The Office for Students

The government propose merging HEFCE and the Office for Fair Access to create the ‘Office for Students’ that will be in the interest of students. 

Widening Participation

There will be additional targets for widening participation and a new Social Mobility Advisory Group. 

Private Providers

A private provider could get degree awarding powers in less than four years and university status in less than five. 


Green paper facts:

  • The green paper mentions ‘what employers want’ 35 times
  • The green paper mentions ‘value for money’ 27 times
  • The green paper mentions ‘what students want’ 23 times
  • The green paper mentions ‘mature students’  two time
  • The green paper mentions ‘part-time students’ one time



Regulation & student protections

There will be increased protections for students if a course or institution fails. 

Students’ Unions

A question is asked about how we can improved our transparency and accountability. 

Sharia-compliant loans

After years of joint work between NUS and FOSIS, the government are introducing Sharia compliant loans. Research: HEFCE will no longer allocate research funding and the research councils are to be reformed.


HEFCE will no longer allocate research funding and the research councils are to be reformed.

Read more about the government’s higher education green paper, and NUS’ response to it online here.