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UK: Regent’s acquires US for-profit uni, London

Regent's college became the sixth UK HEI to be given its own degree awarding powers this summer

Regent’s said it had bought AIUL as a loss-making asset, as part of a strategy to “become the leading private non-profit University in Europe”.

It also claimed that this was the first time a non-profit HEI had bought a for-profit one in the UK, given Regent’s operates as a charity. “We are essentially turning a for-profit institution into a not-for-profit operation,” said Professor Aldwyn Cooper, principal of Regent’s College.

Regent’s says it will now deliver more on-campus US programmes than any other European provider

AIUL is currently owned by Career Education Corporation, based in the US, and caters to around 500 American, British and international students at its central London campus.

Under the deal, London-based Regent’s — which teaches 4,000 students from 130 countries a year — will incorporate AUIL’s premises and courses (which are US and UK-validated). This includes its School of Fashion and Design and business programmes.

Regent’s adds that this will mean it delivers more US-validated degrees than any other European provider, given its already large range of US-validated courses (it also offers UK qualifications).

“I think this will make Regent’s more popular to US students,” a spokesperson for Regent’s told The PIE News. “Regent’s currently has a link up with Webster University in the US [offering US MA’s, MS, and MBAs] which means the college already has a lot of US students in the UK… AIUL and Regent’s have fairly similar outlooks so this will fit together quite nicely.”

AIUL has faced accreditation issues in the past, with QAA giving it a “judgement of no confidence” in a 2005 audit, although this was overturned in 2008. The spokesperson said that accreditation had no bearing on AIUL’s losses, nor visa issues, which forced the US Schiller University to close in London last year.

Regent’s said accreditation had no bearing on the losses, nor did visa issues

He added that AIUL students due to graduate before June 2014 would be able to complete their current courses. Those expected to graduate after June 2014 would be given the option to transfer to Regent’s College programmes.

This summer Regent’s became the sixth private college ever to be given the right to award its own degrees, after the government said it wanted to open up the tertiary sector to private providers.

The college is expected to be awarded university status in the coming weeks. If approved it will become the second private university in the UK after the University of Buckingham.

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