Two-plus-two is the buzz phrase in the world where further and higher education meet.
Early in his inquiry into the future of higher education, Sir Ron Dearing sent a team over to Chicago to explore the arrangement there whereby students start their degree at a further education college, usually spening two years there and complete it at a university, joining at the start of a course's second year.
They were hot on the heels of another investigation team from Birmingham, whose three universities are trying to form closer links with its colleges.
But the system is already up and running in various guises in this country. Salford University has held partnerships with colleges since the 1980s, which have allowed students to spend two years on an Higher National Diploma course in a further education college and then pass directly into the second year of a university degree if they reach the required standard.
Drop-out rates are high, especially after the first year, usually because of financial hardship.