The Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 (‘the Act’) makes provision about :
- fee and access plans that are to be prepared by higher education institutions in Wales that are also charities. This includes the contents of the plan and the fee limit for qualifying courses, failure to comply with a fee limit or other requirements, the validity of certain contracts and how plans will be monitored;
- the assessment of the quality of education provided by or on behalf of institutions that have a fee and access plan. This includes the powers available for the purposes of assessment and the steps the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) may take if the quality of education is inadequate;
- the preparation and publication of a code relating to the way institutions that have a fee and access plan organise and manage their financial affairs. This includes compliance with the code and the powers available to monitor it, or if they fail to comply with it;
- the circumstances that HEFCW can refuse to approve a plan and the circumstances it must, or may, withdraw its approval.
The Act also contains provisions of a procedural, supplementary and general nature relating to HEFCW’s functions.
The Explanatory Notes to the Act provide detailed commentary on the various provisions.
Coming into force
Part 1, sections 55 to 57, section 58(3) and (4) and sections 59 and 60 came into force on 12 March 2015 in accordance with section 59(1) of the Act. The other provisions of this Act come into force on a day appointed by the Welsh Ministers by order made by statutory instrument. The following Orders have been made:
- The Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 (Commencement No. 3) Order 2017
- The Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2016
- The Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 (Commencement No.1 and Saving Provision) Order 2015
Subordinate legislation made under the Act
In addition, the UK Government has made the following Order:
Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd
The Bill was introduced on 19 May 2014 by Huw Lewis AM, who was the Minister for Education and Skills at the time. The Bill was passed by Senedd Cymru (known then as the National Assembly for Wales) on 27 January 2015.
More information about the Bill is available on the Senedd’s website, including a record of the passage of the Bill through Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum that was prepared by the Welsh Government (as amended at Stage 2).
The Act received Royal Assent on 12 March 2015.
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