Two new university colleges were created in Wales last week when Cardiff Institute of Higher Education and Gwent College were accepted into the Federal University of Wales.
Both colleges have a history of collaboration with the university and had long been designated associated institutions of the university.
Last week's decision elevates them to university college status, one step beneath the university's six constituent institutions (Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Lampeter, Medicine and Swansea) which all have extensive research.
The two new university colleges will have only limited research in specially defined areas, and will be expected to pursue their involvement in vocational education.
All their courses will have to be approved by the federal university's subject panels and students will be awarded University of Wales degrees.
The colleges' elevation is part of a major change in the structure of higher education in Wales. Their new status was approved less than a month after another former associated institution, the Normal College, agreed to merge with Bangor.
*Student enrolments in Wales have risen by 5 per cent in further education and 6 per cent in higher education in the past year, according to figures gathered by the Welsh funding councils. In further education, the biggest growth area was "open learning" courses, which saw a 39 per cent increase in numbers, while enrolments on franchised courses grew by 23 per cent.