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Reshaping the UniversityThe Rise of the Regulated Market in Higher Education$
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David Palfreyman and Ted Tapper

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659821.001.0001

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The Student as Consumer

The Student as Consumer

Legal Framework and Practical Reality

Chapter:
(p.118) 6 The Student as Consumer
Source:
Reshaping the University
Author(s):

David Palfreyman

Ted Tapper

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659821.003.0006

The funding of teaching in English higher education is underwritten by the fees that students pay and this inevitably casts higher education as a product and students as consumers. The chapter explores the legal framework which guides institutions in their provision of teaching and learning. The judicial deference to academic judgement acts as a strong defence for the universities and limits the regulatory function of the Office of Independent Adjudicator and the contractual rights of students.There is no clear evidence showing whether prospective students are acting as informed consumers when selecting a university. Do they have sufficient information to make an informed choice? Are they guided more by the status of a university than its academic competence? What criteria should they employ when making selections? How do they calculate the potential returns? Pursuing these concerns, the chapter draws upon the American experience , where there is an established market in fees, but no strong regulatory framework to protect students asconsumers.

Keywords:   fees, legal framework, student rights, consumers, value-for-money, product, adjudication, quality control

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