Alternative Providers Guidance

Alternative Providers (AP's) are providers of higher education courses that:

  • do not receive annual funding from the UK funding councils
  • do not receive any other form of direct annual funding (for example, from a local authority, or the Secretary of State for Education )
  • are not a further education college

In order for students undertaking courses at alternative providers to be able to apply for loans and grants the alternative provider and the courses that they offer must be specifically designated. Designation rules are based around: course duration, qualification, type of course and location. Only those courses that are successfully designated will be added to Student Loans Company'systems and will be eligible for students to select as part of their application for student support.

Prior to alternative providers being set up with access to SLC systems, the provider and the courses that they intend to offer must first be designated by the appropriate regulatory body. The domicile of the alternative provider dictates the route the provider must take in order to have their courses designated.

England - Alternative providers in England should contact the

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

Wales - Alternative providers in Wales should contact the

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)

Scotland - Alternative providers in Scotland should contact the

Scottish Funding Council (SFC)

Northern Ireland - Alternative providers in Northern Ireland should contact the

Department for the Economy (DfE)

If you have any queries with regards to the designation of Alternative Providers and their courses please contact the HEP Services team.

The Relationship Manager for Alternative Providers is Amanda Thomson who can be contacted here

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