Headlines: June 3rd, 2003

High quality specialist Higher Education Institutions will be able to become universities in September 2004. Currently, institutions need to teach in a wide range of subjects to be eligible for the university title. Under new criteria the subject range barrier will be removed and institutions specializing in one or two subjects will become eligible for university status. Institutions without research degree awarding powers will also be able to apply for university status.The Quality Assurance Agency has been asked to streamline procedures to speed up the application processes whilst ensuring rigour and standards are maintained. Before being granted the university title, all institutions will be required to demonstrate that they fully satisfy the revised criteria for taught degree awarding powers. Institutions that gain new degree awarding powers will have to prove that they are maintaining standards through a regular audit by the Quality Assurance Agency .