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Degree powers for Regent's College welcomed by Willetts

Regent's College has become the latest private institution to be granted degree-awarding powers, and it now aims to become only the second private university in the UK.

Regent's College
Credit: Regent's College

The charitable London college, which has about 4,000 students, announced today that it would be able to grant its own degrees from 1 September after being awarded taught degree-awarding powers by the Privy Council.

Regent's College said in a statement that "gaining degree-awarding powers forms part of the college's long-term vision to become the leading private non-profit university in Europe, which includes plans to apply for full university title in the UK".

The college's application for university title is expected to come via the Companies House route rather than through the Privy Council.

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said: "The government is keen to encourage greater competition and choice in higher education provision in order to better respond to student demand.

"I am therefore pleased that another alternative provider, Regent's College, has met the rigorous standards required of institutions who apply for the power to award degrees."

Regent's College is the first private institution to be granted degree-awarding powers under the coalition government. In total, it is the sixth private institution to gain the status, joining Ashridge Business School, BPP University College, the University of Buckingham, ifs School of Finance and the College of Law.

Buckingham is the only private institution in the UK to have secured university title.

Aldwyn Cooper, principal of Regent's College, said: "Our breadth of study is rooted in the liberal arts tradition, and we have core strengths in business, psychology, international relations, humanities and the arts."

He added: "The next step is to apply for university title to reflect properly the kind of institution that Regent's has become and to better enable us to fulfil our driving charitable mission to serve education."

Degree-awarding powers are granted by the Privy Council on the advice of the Quality Assurance Agency. Applications are judged against a number of criteria "designed to establish that the applicant is a well-founded, cohesive and self-critical academic community that can demonstrate firm guardianship of its standards", according to the QAA.

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