Tuesday, 31 May 2011

ifs School of Finance

Another private providers post. I am interested in those parts of the private sector which have a distributed delivery model as opposed to others (e.g. Regents or Buckingham) which have a traditional campus model. Is there scope for a new model of HE to develop through the private sector doing something genuinely innovative? What follows is therefore a series of posts on the major private providers.

First ifs School of Finance. This one is, like many, a registered charity which, founded in 1879, would fit pretty easily into the smaller end of the public sector. Since January 2010, it has had TDAP.

The Trustees recognise the opportunity to expand:

the ifs is well-positioned to take advantage of any greater reliance and focus on private sector provision. In this regard the ifs is planning to run full-time degree programmes for the first time in its history. (Source)

The annual accounts show a loss of £234k in the year ending July 2010, on a turnover of £14.5 million. The previous year's loss was £1.6 million on a turnover of £8.5 million. The rate of growth seems pretty impressive, but the results themselves aren't stellar. The preceding years' turnovers are £16.5 (2008) and £17.4 (2007) million. Year ending December 2007 was the last time a surplus was recorded. What we are really seeing here is an accounting quirk: ifs shifted to a financial year ending in July in 2009, so the year ending 31 July had only 7 months in it.

HESA data show that almost all the current students (16,500 out of 18,000) are at FE level. Only one FTUG programme is offered - the BSc Banking Practice and Management, only in London with an entry tariff of 300 pts, although some of the FE programmes are available through a network of collaborative providers both in  the Uk and overseas. The relatively specialist nature of the BSc, the single location offered, and the fact that it is the only programme offered indicate (IMHO) fairly modest ambition in the HE arena, and when the financial position is considered too, clearly ifs is some way away from challenging any large HE provider for any part of its core market.

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