Each year, the Student Loans Company issues around £20 billion new student loans, alongside maintenance loans and grants.

This study focuses on the controls over those loans issued to students at franchised higher education providers. Publicly funded universities can create partnerships (or franchises) with other providers to deliver a range of courses. These franchised providers are not required to register with the Office for Students, the higher education sector regulator, with lead providers keeping responsibility for teaching quality and protecting students’ interests.


Our report will set out the arrangements DfE and other government bodies have in place to ensure effective oversight of franchised higher education providers. It will focus on the systems and controls in place to protect taxpayers’ interests by mitigating the risk of financial loss through, for example, student loans not being repaid.

NAO Team

Director: Emma Willson
Audit Manager: David Raraty