We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Private providers and market exit in UK higher education.

Hunt, Stephen A. and Boliver, Vikki (2021) 'Private providers and market exit in UK higher education.', Higher education., 81 . pp. 385-401.


The sudden closure of higher education providers is virtually unknown among publicly funded higher education institutions in the UK, but “market exit” is commonplace among private higher education providers. The UK government is actively championing the expansion of private higher education providers despite a dearth of research on the factors associated with a heightened risk of market exit within this part of the UK higher education sector. We set out to fill this gap in knowledge by utilizing existing data on private higher education providers active in the UK in 2014 supplemented by newly collected data on the status of these providers in 2019. The likelihood of market exit was higher for more recently founded providers, those operating for profit, those specializing in Business or IT or else having no particular specialization, and those located in London—all features that represent areas of greatest competition in the private higher education sector. Further risk factors associated with an increased likelihood of market exit were no external quality assessment, no access to publicly backed tuition fee loans, and the removal of the legal right to recruit international students. This second set of risk factors suggest that it is not just denial of revenue streams that increases the likelihood of market exit but estrangement from an officially regulated higher education system.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF (Advance online version)
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date accepted:20 April 2020
Date deposited:02 June 2020
Date of first online publication:19 May 2020
Date first made open access:02 June 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar