The University of Wales has invited five institutions to join it as federal members and has agreed to upgrade the status of two others following a debate about its future, writes Tony Tysome.
The University of Glamorgan, North East Wales Institute of Higher Education, Swansea Institute of Higher Education, Trinity College Carmarthen and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama have been invited to become members.
Last year, the future of the federal university was in doubt after an independent inquiry recommended that it should lose its degree-awarding powers.
The recommendations were rejected by the Welsh Assembly, which chose instead to place the future of the university in the hands of its member institutions.
James Lusty, principal of the UWCN, said: "UWCN is delighted that the University of Wales council has ended the differentiation between consituent insitutions and university colleges."
* Data gathered by researchers from 1994 to 1999 reveal that Welsh higher education spends10 per cent less than the UK average on administration - an average saving of £49 per student.