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Report: Are we ready for the end of student number controls?

Based on new research, Wonkhe has published a report with Capita that assess the sector's preparedness for the removal of student number controls and the coming changes to universities and the market that are expected to follow.
This article is more than 8 years old

Mark is founder and Editor in Chief of Wonkhe

Andy Shenstone works at the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and was previously the Education Market Director for Capita Consulting.

Today with Capita we publish a new report on the coming removal of student number controls – Are we ready?

Ever since the Chancellor George Osborne announced the abolition of SNCs in his Autumn Statement in 2013, the sector has been racing to prepare for one of the biggest policy shifts to face universities in years.

As A Level results day now looms, we’re heading at breakneck speed towards the first truly uncapped academic year.

Revealing a wealth of thinking and planning for the post-SNC environment, the research included a survey of planners and policymakers, as well as extensive interviews with leaders and policy experts from across different parts of the sector.

Opinions differ on the finer points, but on one thing absolutely everyone agrees: this is a huge change that will have wide and deep consequences for everyone in the sector. The shape of the market will change as recruitment practices are altered to meet the new reality – league tables could see their biggest changes in years and governing bodies will be placed in an increasingly important position.

student number control report SNC wonkhe capitaFor institutions that want to expand, the prizes are clear – boosting their student intake will help them in lots of different ways – some financial and some positional. But the game is also about to get riskier – as recruitment practices sharpen up, the fight for student numbers will intensify.

Preparing for a lift of the SNC cap, the decisions that executive teams and governing bodies are taking right now have consequences that are increasingly difficult to predict. Planners and policy wonks have never been more important, as it is they who will provide the evidence for these decisions and will share in the responsibility for the critical task of preparing their institutions to respond to a more dynamic landscape.

We sincerely hope this study will prove useful for decision-making, and for those that work in policy and want to understand the consequences of removing student number controls – one of the biggest and most high-profile changes in higher education policy for many years.

You can read the report in full here.

2 responses to “Report: Are we ready for the end of student number controls?

  1. With the tuition fees cap removed, leaving universities to charge what they like and the scrapping of the maintenance grants, numbers will plummet anyway so lifting the SNC cap won’t matter.

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