Regent’s College given green light on university title

Regent’s College will become the latest private provider to gain university status, with the charitable institution hoping to boost its international prospects and join Universities UK as a result.

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The institution, which has around 4,500 full-time students and is the biggest undergraduate institution outside the state-funded sector, will be known as Regent’s University London after the Department for Business Innovation and Skills said it met the criteria for university title.

To qualify for university title, institutions must have at least 1,000 students on full-time higher education courses – a threshold lowered from 4,000 by the coalition government –pass checks on governance, and have their proposed name approved.

The college, based in Regent’s Park in central London, has gone through the newer Companies House route for university title, rather than the traditional Privy Council route. The college said the name change will be completed through Companies House “in the coming weeks”.

It added that university title is “part of an ambitious strategy…which will see Regent’s becoming the leading private non-profit university in Europe”.

Aldwyn Cooper, Regent’s College principal, said: “It is obviously hugely important. The status of university title in Great Britain is jealously guarded. To have come through the process…is a testament to all the staff here and what they do.”

Professor Cooper said UUK, the university sector’s representative body, is “reviewing its criteria for membership” and Regent’s “will certainly be applying” if it can meet those criteria. He added that Regent’s would still maintain its GuildHE membership nevertheless.

On international prospects, Professor Cooper said that university title was required to gain recognition from governments in several countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and India.

Such governments “won’t even have you on their recommended list” without university title, he added.

Asked about the Companies House route to university title, which involves checks by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Quality Assurance Agency, he said: “It’s certainly not an easier route. If anything, I would say it’s a more difficult route. We’ve been under more scrutiny than any other institution that has been through this, by a long way.”

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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