•    GuildHE member institutions representing over 1200 years of history will apply for university title

•    Qualifying threshold for university title reduced from 4,000 to 1,000 full-time higher education students

Following today’s (11th June) announcement by the Government that the qualifying threshold for university title will be lowered from 4,000 to 1,000 students, 10 GuildHE member institutions will be eligible to apply to the Privy Council for this status. GuildHE is one of two recognised representative bodies for Higher Education in the UK, championing the diverse and high quality educational provision offered by its members.

The Government’s changes create a level playing field for smaller specialist institutions, with all other criteria for university title remaining the same. The requirement to hold degree awarding powers and the principles of good governance remain, and the QAA will retain its role in maintaining exemplary standards.

The 10 GuildHE institutions are well established, with over one thousand (1,256) years of history between them. They include respected art and design institutions such as Norwich University College of the Arts and the Arts University College Bournemouth, as well as leading agriculture institutions such as Harper Adams University College and the Royal Agricultural College. They have a proven record of excellence in employability, teaching and student experience. HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) employability indicators for 2009/10 show that of the 10 institutions:

•    6 were in the top 30 for employability in the UK
•    8 were above the UK average for employability

Commenting on the move, Andy Westwood, chief executive of GuildHE, said:

“The Government’s reduction in the qualifying threshold for university title represents the correction of a long-held anomaly.

“Smaller institutions have long offered greater agility, smaller classes, stronger graduate employment and better retention rates. At GuildHE we are proud that our university colleges regularly perform alongside those with the university title in league tables. Six of our university colleges are in the top 30 for graduate employability and most are above the 90% level.

“The GuildHE institutions are established and are both well-known and highly valued in the communities and specific sectors they serve. The opportunity to apply for the university title recognises the excellence and diversity they bring to the HE sector.”

The 10 institutions are listed below:

GuildHE institution Year formed  HESA Indicator (%)
The Arts University College at Bournemouth 1885 97.5
Royal Agricultural College 1845 96.6
Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln 1862 95.5
Harper Adams University College 1901 93.8
Leeds Trinity University College 1966 93.6
Newman University College 1968 93.3
University College Falmouth 1902 91.6
St Mary’s University College, Twickenham 1850 91.0
University College Plymouth St Mark and St John 1840 90.3
Norwich University College of the Arts 1845 89.5



For more information and comment, please contact:

Andy Westwood
CEO, GuildHE
Tel: 020 7387 7711
Mobile: 07970 007142
Email: andy.westwood@guildhe.ac.uk

Notes to editors

1.    GuildHE is one of the two recognised representative bodies for Higher Education in the UK, representing universities and university colleges, specialist colleges and other bodies providing higher education programmes.

2.    HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) is the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative information about higher education. Referred to are the HESA performance indicators for employability in 2009/10, the most recent available.
Employability is defined as “the number of graduates who say they are working or studying (or both) as a percentage of all those who are working or studying or seeking work.”
The full results can be found here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/dox/performanceIndicators/0910/e1a_0910.xls

3.    David Willetts’ written ministerial statement (11th June) announcing the response to the Higher Education White Paper can be found at https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/June_2012/11-06-12/1.BIS-Higher-Education-Update.pdf

4.    The Government’s response to the Higher Education White Paper, including details on the changes to university title criteria can be found at https://www.bis.gov.uk/news/topstories/2012/Jun/he-white-paper-consultation-response-published


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