On Monday, March 6, the Lords voted 263 to 211 for Amendment 19 to the HE Bill.
“Regulated course fees etc: use in relation to section 26
(1) The scheme established under section 26 must not be used to rank English higher education providers as to the regulated course fees they charge to a qualifying person; or the unregulated course fees they charge to an international student; or the number of fee paying students they recruit, whether they are qualifying persons or international students.
(2) In this section “regulated course fees”, “qualifying person” and “international student” have the same meaning as in section 11.”
This would have the effect of prohibiting the use of the TEF ranking:
- in either the setting of the student fee cap or
- the number of students that a university can recruit.
As Lord Kerslake explained in the debate, the latter would apply to both national and international students, so preventing the possibility that the TEF ranking might be linked to the issuing of student visas.
The first of these has been a key debate of the NUS’ campaign against the TEF. The second arises in relation to Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s call at the Conservative Party Conference to use the TEF to remove the right of universities to sponsor overseas students. It would also prevent the Government of the day using TEF scores to cap student numbers by subject or institution, something that future governments may wish to do in the face of rising student loan deficit.