[holding answer 6 June]: The Department has not produced any estimate of the number of further education institutions that are likely to be granted foundation degree-awarding powers under proposals in the Further Education and Training Bill. However, it is likely that only a small number, mostly from the mixed economy group of colleges which currently provide 14 per cent. of all foundation degree provision, will be able to satisfy the criteria necessary to be awarded foundation degree-awarding powers.
Guidance issued to applicants will specify that an institution will be expected to have at least four years' experience, immediately prior to the year of application, of delivering higher education programmes at a level equivalent to the foundation degree. An applicant institution will also undergo a rigorous process of assessment by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. The required standards will be high, and it is to be expected that only top-performing further education institutions with a strong track record of delivering foundation degree courses will be recommended to the Privy Council for the powers to award foundation degrees.