For-profit Resource Development International is the latest private institution to be awarded university title, becoming Arden University.
The institution, owned by US firm Capella Education Company, said today that it had “received confirmation from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that it meets the criteria for university title”.
Arden University will be “the only specialist distance learning university to launch in the UK since the Open University was established 51 years ago” and will “offer degree programmes designed to meet growing UK and international demand by employers and students for affordable, flexible learning”, it added.
The award of university title has come via the Companies House route used by BIS for private providers, rather than via the Privy Council route used by traditional universities who have gained the title.
The Coventry-based institution appears to have taken its name from the Arden area of Warwickshire.
Arden is the latest private institution to gain university status since the Conservatives began a policy of expanding private provision in 2010, following BPP University, the University of Law and Regent’s University London.
Arden was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers in 2014. It said that the award of university title came after “rigorous scrutiny” by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Jo Johnson, minister for universities and science, said: “This is a positive step in our effort to enhance the diversity of our world-class higher education sector, and I wish them [Arden] well in their future delivery of specialist distance learning to students.”
Philip Hallam, RDI chief executive, said: “For over a quarter of a century, we’ve worked incredibly hard to develop a credible higher education institution that complements the UK campus university sector. To receive confirmation that the government recognises this work, and is confident that our academic standards, financial status, and governance structure meet the stringent criteria required for university title, is a fantastic achievement.
“The quality of UK university education is renowned the world over. With Arden University, we want to take on that mantle by ensuring that students, both in the UK and overseas, benefit from modern, accessible and flexible ways of learning that truly support their career ambition.”