The policy environment for universities in England has changed significantly over the past few years. This can be seen most obviously in relation to the funding of undergraduate education but other changes will come to be seen as equally influential in the long term. One example is the change to the policy on controlling student numbers which is the subject of this new report from the Higher Education Academy and Sheffield Hallam University.
This research project sought to develop an understanding of the impact of the stimulation of increased choice and competition on the sector. The research took place in the context of a volatile policy environment and the report highlights the complex effects of two concurrent and linked processes: one the ongoing effects of marketisation and how institutional decision-making processes are inflected by the daily realities of a system based on choice and competition; and two the traceable effects of the specific Student Number Control (SNC) 'core and margin' policy since 2012-13.