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The Office for Students (OfS) is the higher education regulator in England. It was established by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 and came into existence in 2018. It is a non-departmental public body of the Department for Education (DfE).

The OfS aims to ensure that higher education in England delivers positive outcomes for students. It is expected to encourage competition to improve student choice, to intervene when providers are failing in areas such as equal access, and to protect the interests of students, the Government, and society at large.

The OfS performs its regulatory functions in several ways:

  • through the operation of a register of higher education providers
  • the application of its regulatory framework
  • the awarding of degree awarding powers and the title of university
  • the monitoring of access and participation
  • the assurance of quality and standards
  • the oversight of data collection and publication.

In performing these functions, the OfS must have regard to the need to protect institutional autonomy and academic freedom, promote choice for students, encourage competition between providers, and promote value for money and equality of opportunity in connection with access and participation. 

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