After more than a decade of campaigning Bolton is finally set to become a university town.
Bolton Institute learnt this week that after two failed attempts it will at last be awarded university status.
The institute, which has 7,000 students, almost half of whom are part time, has been waiting since June last year to hear whether its third application had been successful.
Mollie Temple, the principal, said the news would make the institute "stand taller". "It will change us, if only in subtle ways."
She added: "We will certainly be more confident, and our new title will strengthen our reputation, as well as support future plans and expansion.
Our staff and students are delighted that the quality of our work and achievements has been officially recognised."
The news looks set to prompt a new bid for city status for Bolton, civic leaders said. A host of politicians believe the university could be the catalyst Bolton has been waiting for. The town is already on a high following the success of Bolton Wanderers' football team in the Premiership.
Bolton South East MP Brian Iddon believes that when the time comes, the presence of the university will put the town in a stronger position to bid for city status.
He said: "I think it will be a huge boost to the town, as well as a morale boost to the new university's staff and students, not to mention the civic dignitaries around the town."
Iqbal Memon, chairman of institute's board of governors, described the decision as "wonderful news for our students, their families and staff, as well as the communities we serve".
As a university, Bolton Institute would continue to focus on developing its students in a way that prepared them for real jobs in a real world, Ms Temple said. Some 20 per cent of Bolton's students are learning within work placements.
She added: "University status will support our international standing and help create new partnerships around the world, as well as in the Northwest, which can now boast another university."