More institutions are offering a seamless progression between further and higher education as the sectors see the benefits of working together.
Franchised courses, validation arrangements and associate college status already offer students a clear path between the two.
A patchwork of direct and indirect payments from funding councils supports these schemes, which has led some vice principals and college heads to suggest that funding arrangements should merge.
A recent Institute for Employment Studies report found clear advantages in links between further and higher education.
College links offer universities more potential students from a wider background, and access to extra accommodation. Others reach students who could not or would not travel to the university.
As employers continue to demand more vocational skills, college links are important to keep universities in touch with developments in vocational qualifications.