Types of Higher Education Institutions in UK

The Higher Education providers in the UK can be categorized as mentioned below.

Autonomous and diverse institutions 

These are public funded institutions, autonomous and independent. These institutions are privately run and government-dependent.

Degree awarding powers 

Degrees and other higher education qualifications are legally owned by the awarding institution, not by the state. And the power to award UK degrees is regulated by law.

In Wales, there are three types of degree covered by legislation:

  • taught degrees (up to and including Level 7 qualifications on the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (FHEQ))
  • research degrees (Level 8 and research master’s degrees at Level 7)
  • foundation degrees (Level 5).

Universities 

In the United Kingdom all higher education providers are not authorized to use the word University. See here list of universities in the UK

Other publicly funded higher education providers 

The Higher education programmes are also delivered by further education colleges and approved directly by a higher education institution (HEI) with degree awarding powers. Some short-cycle programmes are awarded by independent awarding organisations for example Pearson.

Alternative Education providers 

Also called Alternative Provision (AP), under this category comes Institutions of Higher Education those provide education to pupils left behind for some reasons. For details see check your County's Official Website.

Representative bodies for higher education institutions

There are two recognised representative bodies for higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK.
  • The members of Universities UK (UUK) are the executive heads (vice-chancellors / principals) of UK university institutions
  • GuildHE members tend to be smaller and specialist institutions. GuildHE provides information and advice to members, their staff and governors through members’ mailings, reports, research and publications. 

Groups of Institutions

Many institutions have also formed groups with common interests. These comprises of regional university associations and so-called ‘mission groups’.
  • The Russell Group is an association of 24 major research-intensive universities in the UK
  • The University Alliance was formally launched in 2007 and includes technical and professional member institutions.
  • The Cathedrals Group is an association of universities and university colleges with church foundations.
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