BPP University College, which offers courses in law, accountancy, business and finance, said it would offer three-year degrees for £5,000 a year and two-year degrees for £6,000 a year, with its programmes available in six centres across England.
That means the private provider, which will face no restrictions on the number of students it can recruit in 2012-13, will have a lower headline fee than all state-funded institutions bar The Open University, which is charging £5,000.
BPP students will be able to draw on taxpayer-backed loans to cover the tuition costs. The government announced earlier this year that those studying with eligible private providers in 2012-13 would be able to draw on loans of up to £6,000 a year.
However, arrangements for 2013-14 and beyond – when private providers are likely to face the same student number controls as public universities – have yet to be finalised.
BPP’s undergraduate fees for 2012-13 still represent an increase on their basic charge for 2011-12 of £3,225. International students will be charged £7,000 a year for three-year degrees and £10,500 for two-year programmes in 2012-13.
Carl Lygo, BPP’s chief executive, said the institution had a mission to “challenge the educational status quo” and had designed the courses so that students could graduate with a “practical head start in their chosen careers without a mountain of debt”.
“Universities have been forced, many for the first time, to make some tough decisions in order to compete in a changing and challenging environment,” he said. “At the heart of this is the student, who deserves value for money and the chance to improve their employability prospects. As a sector, we mustn’t lose sight of this.”
The company said a new “career and employability benefits package” would be built into the undergraduate degrees, which will be available at centres in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London, Swindon and Manchester.