Kaplan, the for-profit higher education provider, is to offer tuition for external University of London degrees in a direct echo of a model for widening participation suggested by universities and science minister David Willetts.
The US-owned firm, part of The Washington Post Company, will provide campus-based tuition for undergraduates wanting to study subjects including business, finance and accounting.
In his first major speech as minister, Mr Willetts referred to the University of London’s external system – now known as its International Programmes – as a possible way to open up higher education through new and existing providers.
The timing of Kaplan’s move indicates that it hopes to tap into the market for the tens of thousands of students who are expected to fail to secure a university place following this Thursday’s A-level results.
Mr Willetts welcomed the announcement and added: “Initiatives like this encourage institutions to focus on high-quality teaching, which is good for the students.”
Kaplan, which already provides online degrees accredited by the University of Essex, will offer tuition for the London courses at its business school in the capital.
The degrees on offer will be bachelor of laws, BSc accounting and finance, BSc accounting with law, BSc banking and finance, BSc business, and BSc economics and finance. Tuition fees will be £8,500 per year.
Peter Houillon, Kaplan UK’s chief executive, said: “Kaplan Business School will provide students with an exceptional level of academic tuition and support and will take advantage of its established links with industry for career progression, opportunities for internship placements and career guidance.”
Currently there are about 44,000 students studying abroad via the University of London’s external system, and approximately 6,000 in the UK. A number of private providers in the UK already offer teaching support for the degrees.