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Opposition Day Debate: The Higher Education (England) Regulations 2016 (S.I., 2016 No. 1205 and S.I., 2016, No. 1206) 

Published Tuesday, September 12, 2017

On 13 September 2017, there will be an Opposition Day debate on The Higher Education (England) Regulations 2016 (S.I., 2016 No. 1205 and S.I., 2016, No. 1206). These regulations allow higher education providers to charge higher tuition fees if they meet certain criteria under the Teaching Excellence Framework.

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On 15 December 2016 the Government laid the The Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 SI 1205 and the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 SI 1206. The Government also produced Explanatory Notes for these regulations and an Equality Analysis for Higher Education Student Finance in 2017-18. The latter considers the possible impact on disadvantaged groups within society as well as outlining the regulations both for HE as a whole, and within particular courses.

The regulations will allow higher education institutions (HEIs) which were granted a Teaching Excellence Framework award in 2016 (as set out in the DfE document Teaching Excellence Framework eligible providers Year one) to raise their fees in line with inflation.  The regulation sets this higher amount for eligible providers at £9,250 per year.  HEIs without a TEF award will have a higher fee limit of £9,000 per year as currently. 

The Basic Amount regulations will allow providers without an approved access agreement, but who have received a TEF award, to raise their fees to £6,165 per year. Those without a TEF award will remain capped at £6,000 per year. 

These regulations came into force on 6th January and will apply for the academic year 2017-18.

Early Day Motions 850 and 851

The Explanatory Memoranda to these statutory instruments stated that the ‘instrument is subject to negative resolution procedure’.  A statutory instrument which is subject to the negative resolution procedure will automatically become law without debate unless there is an objection from either House.  Tabling an EDM is a method used to make an objection to a regulation which is subject to this procedure.

EDMs 850 and 851, tabled on 10 January 2017, prayed against SIs 2016/1205 and 2016/1206 and sought to annul them. Both EDMs received 19 signatures. 

Emergency debate

On 19 July 2017, there was an emergency debate on Tuition Fees which considered the increase in tuition fees implemented by the Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 (S.I., 2016, No. 1205) and the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 (S.I., 2016, No. 1206).

Further reading

These regulations have proved controversial and have been covered in the national media. For example:

For more information, see the Library's paper on the Teaching Excellence Framework, in particular sections 3.1, 8.5 and 9.

Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-0166

Author: Susan Hubble

Topic: Higher education

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