Chester College of Higher Education will take over Warrington Collegiate Institute's 900 higher education students.
Chester College, founded in 1839 as the first Church of England college, is a college of Liverpool University but has applied to award its own degrees. It expects to hear by the end of this year whether it can become University College Chester. It hopes to become the University of Chester by 2005.
Chester has about 6,500 students studying arts and humanities, sciences, education and nursing and midwifery. Warrington awards degrees through Manchester University.