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The Student Contract: ''CMA'' Implications on Collaboration Arrangements

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings


Welcome to the third in our series of fortnightly Student Contract: ''CMA'' Implications ebriefs for universities, colleges and private providers. These ebriefs highlight aspects of the application of consumer law to the student contract which pose challenges for the tertiary education sector.

This time we focus on the consumer law implications of collaboration arrangements between institutions for the provision of educational services to students.

It is increasingly common within the sector for institutions to work collaboratively with other organisations to provide students with a greater choice of programmes and opportunities and to further their research agenda. There are a number of different ways in which institutions may work together but the most prevalent include collaborations between UK institutions and institutions overseas, between FE colleges and validating universities, and between private and public sector bodies.

To facilitate these arrangements, institutions will enter into ''business-to-business’’ collaboration agreements with each other which set out the terms upon which each organisation will work together to deliver the particular programme to students. It is important that these ''business-to-business'' agreements align with the student contracts that institutions will enter into with students.

There are a number of key student contract and consumer law challenges and risks which arise for providers in respect of collaborative (for example, franchised and validated) provision with home and overseas partners. Institutions should, in particular, consider the following questions when planning and implementing their collaborative arrangements and formulating their student contracts:

• When will the ''student contract'' be made, and with which providers will students have a contract?

• How should student contracts and overarching collaborative/validation arrangements align?

• With what information should students be provided, by which provider and when?

• How can changes be made over time?

• What considerations arise if providers are in different legal jurisdictions?

Eversheds Sutherland is currently running a series of free seminars which focus on these challenges, and we invite you to join us at these sessions. Further information can be found at

Next time - The Student Contract: ''CMA’’ Implications of Consumer Statutory Guarantees and Remedies

Eversheds Sutherland has a wealth of experience advising on student contract / “CMA”-related issues in the HE and FE sectors. If you would like to discuss how Eversheds Sutherland may assist you in managing any of the issues addressed above (or any other student contract/consumer related issues) please contact Siân Jones-Davies or Eve England.