SWANSEA Institute may follow other Welsh institutes and seek degree-awarding powers and membership of the University of Wales.
David Warner was appointed principal in December to make a recommendation on the institute's future. He expects to do so in the summer.
The institute has four options: to remain an independent institute of higher education; to merge with the University of Wales, Swansea; to merge with the University of Glamorgan; or to seek degree-awarding powers and membership of the University of Wales. The institute failed in a degree-awarding application in 1996.
Acknowledging the damage done to the institute by publicity over poor-quality franchised courses abroad, which are now closed, Professor Warner said: "There are no fundamental flaws in this institution." He said that the University of Wales will validate all of the institute's degrees from the next academic year. "There is a very strong argument for following the example of similar institutions in Cardiff, Newport and Wrexham," Professor Warner said.
Such a move is likely to be popular with staff and students. David Rees, chair of the Natfhe coordinating committee for the institute, said:
"Degree-awarding powers would provide an avenue to becoming a university college within either the University of Wales or the University of Glamorgan."
Charlie Hodgkinson, president of the students union, said: "We would want to preserve the distinctive feel of this institution, and joining the University of Wales would allow this."