Responding to the announcement that Michael Barber is the Government’s preferred candidate to be the Chair at the new Office for Students, Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:

‘This is an interesting appointment. He is clearly a great expert on the delivery of public services, cares about students and will be open to having a diverse higher education sector. The first Chair will help to set the tone, direction and success of the new body, so it is a critically important role.

‘But, given that he is not a former vice chancellor and the chief executive role is being advertised at a salary below the level of most vice chancellors, some people in the sector will be worried there could be no former vice chancellor at the top of the new body. That could make the future regulation of higher education very different to the past.’