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"University Title

Volume 201: debated on Wednesday 15 January 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

1. The Consultation Paper "Degree Awarding Powers and University Title" issued by the Education Departments on 31 October 1991 consulted on the Government's proposals concerning:

  • 1.1 criteria for the extension of degree awarding powers beyond the present polytechnics;
  • 1.2 arrangements for the Secretary of State to secure advice on whether institutions meet those criteria; and
  • 1.3 criteria for extending the university title beyond the present polytechnics.

2. The Government's conclusions on the first 2 issues have already been set out in our letter of 30 December 1991. This letter sets out the Government's conclusions on the criteria for extending the university title beyond the present polytechnics.

Criteria for University Title

3. Following a generally favourable response to the criteria set out in its consultation paper, the Government has decided that the criteria on which the Secretary of State will base his advice to the Privy Council on any application for use of the university title will be substantially as set out in the consultation paper. The criteria will be that an institution should have:—

  • (a) at least 300 full-time equivalent higher education students in a majority of the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council's 9 academic programmes;
  • (b) a higher education enrollment of at least 4,000 full-time equivalent students;
  • (c) at least 3,000 full-time equivalent higher education students on degree level courses;
  • (d) power to award its own taught course and research degrees.

4. The only change in the above criteria, compared with those in the consultation paper, is that the third criterion is now cast by reference to full-time equivalent student numbers rather than full-time student numbers. In view of the importance of increasing access to higher education through more flexible course structures and, in particular, part-time provision the Government concluded in the light of comments received that this change was desirable. Assessment of the number of full-time equivalent higher education students on degree level courses in an institution will be made by reference to the proportion of students leaving an institution with a full first degree or higher qualification, or a qualification which is equivalent to a full first degree or higher qualification, in the latest academic session for which figures are available.

5. Some institutions asked which students might he included for the purposes of those criteria which include reference to student numbers. The Government does not intend that account should be taken, in assessing applications from individual institutions, of students in associated institutions.

6. The Privy Council Office will write soon to Colleges of Higher Education explaining the procedures and the timing of applications. We are writing in similar terms to all representative organisations which responded to the Consultation Paper of 31 October 1991".