Your education provider
This page explains your education provider's role as your 'Tier 4 sponsor' if you are studying in the UK under Tier 4 (General) of our points-based system.
If a UK education provider wants to teach international students, it must apply to us for a Tier 4 sponsor licence. If we approve the education provider’s application, we will give it a licence and add it to our register of Tier 4 sponsors.
As a Tier 4 sponsor, your education provider must comply with a number of duties while you are in the UK. These are described below.
Only a Tier 4 sponsor can assign confirmations of acceptance for studies (CASs) to international students. To score enough points to become a Tier 4 student, you will need a CAS, so you must check that the provider of your chosen course is a licensed Tier 4 sponsor. You can do this by downloading the most up-to-date version of the register of sponsors from the right side of this page.
For more information about CASs, see the Confirmations of acceptance for studies page.
What is a Tier 4 sponsor?
To apply as a student under Tier 4, you must have been offered a place on a course of study by a ‘Tier 4 sponsor’. This is an education provider which has been approved by us to teach international students.
If an education provider successfully applies to us for approval, we will give them a sponsor licence and add them to the register of Tier 4 sponsors.
16. The register of sponsors contains the education provider’s name, location and sponsor rating. We assign an ‘A rating’ or a ‘B rating’ when they join the register. The ‘B rating’ is a transitional rating, and means that the sponsor is working with us to improve their systems.
You can check whether a UK education provider has a Tier 4 sponsor licence by looking at the register of Tier 4 sponsors. This is updated regularly, and you can download the most up-to-ate version from the right side of this page.
When a Tier 4 sponsor gives an international student an unconditional offer of a place on a course, it assigns a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) to the student. Both A-rated and B-rated sponsors can assign CASs.
Tier 4 sponsor's duties
As a Tier 4 sponsor, your education provider must comply with a number of duties during your stay in the UK.
Your education provider must keep:
- a copy of your passport, identity card for foreign nationals or UK immigration status document – you should keep the original; and
- your contact details.
If you got your Tier 4 visa using a confirmation of acceptance for studies, your education provider must report to us if:
- you fail to enrol on your course within the enrolment period;
- you miss 10 expected contacts without your education provider’s permission;
- they stop being your immigration sponsor for any other reason (for example, if you move into an immigration category that does not need a Tier 4 sponsor);
- there are any significant changes in your circumstances (for example, if your course of study becomes shorter); or
- they have any suspicions that you are breaking the conditions of your permission to stay.
You must give your education provider all the information they need to meet these duties. If you do not, we may investigate you and take action against your education provider (which may affect you).
If you got your Tier 4 visa using a visa letter before 5 October 2009, the reporting duties are voluntary, but we encourage education providers to report.
If we suspend or withdraw your sponsor's licence before you apply
If you apply to us under Tier 4 using a co nfirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from a sponsor whose licence is suspended, we will not consider your application.
If you apply to us under Tier 4 to do a short course to prepare you for your main course of study, we will not consider your application if your CAS shows that the short course will be at a partner institution whose licence has been suspended.
If we withdraw your education provider’s Tier 4 sponsor licence, your CAS will become invalid and you will not be able to use it in an application to us. We will refuse any applications made using an invalid CAS.