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The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in the UK released a report on 31 March 2011 titled University Governance: Questions for a New Era predicting the rising importance of alumni in English universities. With the introduction of income-contingent loan arrangements, alumni (and current students) are expected to replace the state as the chief funding agent of English universities. This development has raised questions about the representation of alumni in institutional governance and the role of "alumni governors" in steering institutional changes.
In a similar vein, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) announced that a new process for reviewing academic standards and quality in higher education will be introduced in September 2011, featuring increased representation of students in the institutional review process in England and Northern Ireland.
The enhanced relevance of students and alumni in university governance and institutional review is closely connected to the funding reform in English universities, with the planned jump in tuition fees to GBP 6 000 (EUR 6 775) per year or higher in 2012/13 (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, December 2010).