Arts University Bournemouth is delighted to announce that it is now officially Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) following approval from the Privy Council on 13th December 2012.

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The Government announced in June that the qualifying threshold for full university title was to be lowered from 4,000 to 1,000 full-time higher education students, and with AUB satisfiying the criteria for full university title, permission was put forward for formal ratification from the Privy Council which has now been granted.

This announcement confirms that the Government has recognised the high quality of the specialist sector, who will be the main beneficiaries of the reduction in the number criterion.

AUB is one of the top five universities in the country for graduate employment, with 97.7% of our graduating class of 2011 in work or further study six months after graduating (HESA – DLHE Survey). Additionally, AUB was recently voted the number one Creative University by students in the new Which? University website guide.

Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Principal of Arts University Bournemouth commented, “Specialist institutions like Arts University Bournemouth are amongst the longest established higher education institutions in the country and predate the majority of established universities. The issue of university title has more recently been associated with how big you are, but as with similar comparisons in everyday life, size is rarely a measure of quality. We represent very high quality higher education in the subjects we offer, a matter recognised nationally as well as abroad. The decision to award university title allows us to compete on a more equal playing field in the international setting as well as at home.

“Whilst this has been a very long process I am delighted that this important recognition has taken place and that both students and staff at AUB achieve full membership of the UK university sector.”

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts recommended to the Privy Council that 10 higher education institutions met the criteria to be awarded the title of university.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said “These well-known and highly-regarded Universities represent over 1,200 years of history between them. It is right to remove the barriers preventing high-quality higher education providers like these calling themselves universities simply because of their size.

“I am delighted that they have taken up the opportunity offered by our reforms. This will lead to the biggest creation of universities since 1992 and will enable more people to realise their aspiration of going to a university.”

Andy Westwood, Chief Executive of GuildHE, the organisation that represents the 10 institutions, said “The minister’s recommendation that ten institutions have met the criteria to become universities recognises the quality, diversity and tradition that they bring to UK higher education.

“Smaller and specialist institutions are long established – in most cases for longer than many UK universities – and often lead the league tables in areas such as teaching and employability.  They also have a strong reputation and impact in their localities and sectors – contributing to economic growth and to stronger, more vibrant communities. Gaining university title is long overdue and it helps to provide greater choice for students and for businesses, while enhancing the quality and diversity of the UK’s higher education sector as a whole.”

The decision to advise the Privy Council to grant the institutions university title was made after careful consideration of their applications and advice from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).