The Government’s White Paper ‘Students at the Heart of the System’, published June 2011, set out its plans for the higher education sector following changes to funding arrangements for higher education in England. These changes have led to a reduction in grant funding and an increase in student funding - albeit those students are now able to access full tuition loans funded by Government for the cost of their course.
SLC has become the primary source of funding for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England – and as such has an increasingly higher profile within the HE sector. The SLC, working alongside the Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE) and other agencies in the HE sector, has been charged by Ministers with developing a regulatory system for HE that – as far as possible and in the absence of legislation – puts students at the heart of the system, whilst creating the conditions for institutions to prosper and providing effective accountability for public investment.
SLC has worked hard to improve its record of operational delivery and significantly improve service levels. According to the APRA, FY15-16 represented SLC’s sixth consecutive year of performance improvement. FY16-17 saw continued improvement in our core mission targets for assessment timeliness, repayments and telephone answering. However, FY16-17 did see a dip in customer satisfaction (following several year on year improvements) for both Assess to Pay and Repayment.
SLC is now overseeing a broader range of products and services with increasing volumes and complexity. These include: changes arising from HE Reforms; FE Loans; Part-time Loans; the centralisation of eligibility processing for Wales; strengthening management of the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) loan book; work arising from plans to monetise the ICR loan books, and Post Graduate Loans. Student Finance and the SLC remain high profile, as evidenced by the ongoing media coverage and public interest in the lead up to and following the 2017 General Election.