LONDON, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Office for Students (OfS), established as the main regulator of higher education replaced the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) on Monday.
The office was designed to champion the interests of students and help ensure that the students are being paid for their investment in higher education.
The OfS marks a major milestone in the implementation of the 2017 Higher Education and Research Act. It will have an explicit legal duty to promote choice and to protect the student, employer and taxpayer interests.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said "the higher education sector is one of our nation's greatest assets, and the OfS will play a vital role in ensuring our universities retain their world-class reputation for years to come."
With the legal establishment of the OfS, Greening has also appointed a 15-strong board to make sure that the interests of employers and students are represented by the new body. The OfS will also hold universities to account over issues such as vice chancellor salaries and free speech.
Last year, Dame Glynis Breakwell, the vice-chancellor of Bath University, was accused of presiding over a "cover-up" which prevented details about her unusually-bloated salary emerging -- circa 632,000 U.S. dollars a year.
Minister for Universities Jo Johnson said "the OfS will introduce a truly modern approach to regulation, one that will further enhance the reputation of our university sector. I am confident that the OfS has a board that will champion choice and competition, and put the interests of students at the heart of regulation."
"The OfS will hold universities to account for the quality of teaching they provide. They will shine a light on the grade inflation that we have seen tearing through the system and play a central role in pressing institutions to respect student's rights and comply with consumer law consistently across the sector," said a spokesperson of the Department for Education.