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Regulating higher education institutions as charities

On 1 June 2010 HEFCE became the principal regulator of those higher education institutions (HEIs) in England which it funds and which are exempt charities. All but 18 HEIs fall into this category. Our existing functions as the main funder of higher education in England are not affected.

This new responsibility results from the Charities Act 2006 (now consolidated into the Charities Act 2011), which implemented a government decision that all charities should be subject to regulation. Although they were expected to comply with charity law, exempt charities were previously outside the scope of the Charity Commission's regulatory powers. 

HEFCE is one of several principal regulators, some yet to be appointed. All principal regulators have the objective, as far as they reasonably can, to promote compliance with charity law by the exempt charities for which they are responsible. This requires regular monitoring and occasional more detailed work, including liaison with the Commission on complex issues that might need the use of its powers.

Information about HEIs as charities

Following consultation, we have set out the information we require from the HEIs that are exempt charities in the 2010 version of the Financial Memorandum between HEFCE and the institutions it funds.

Information about HEIs as charities, similar to that published by the Commission in respect of the charities that it regulates, is now provided on HEIs' own web-sites.

Page last updated 20 April 2012

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