Higher Education: Bogus Colleges

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th July 2012.

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Photo of Lord King of West Bromwich Lord King of West Bromwich Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the owners of bogus colleges which are closed down by the Government are required to refund fees and pay compensation to the students affected by the college closure.

Photo of Baroness Wilcox Baroness Wilcox The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

I assume the noble Lord is referring to the sudden closure last year of a number of independent colleges that recruited mainly international students following changes in the UK Border Agency's requirements for international recruitment.

Privately-funded colleges, run as education businesses, are not required to register with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, neither are they required to be inspected by the Government's school and inspection body, Ofsted. BIS has no power to close them down and is unable to intervene on behalf of their students.

BIS supplied information to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) on how students could contact Citizens Advice in order to find out how they might go about recovering fees. This was included in advice on the UKCISA website to students affected by college closures.

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