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For Profit College BPP Granted University Title

08/08/2013 11:03 BST | Updated 08/08/2013 12:16 BST

A second for-profit institution has been granted a university title, in a move which has raised "serious concerns" among higher education experts.

BPP University College of Professional Studies will be known as BPP University in the future.

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To be granted the title the institution, which offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business, law, finance and tax accountancy, had to achieve criteria including offering its own degrees and meeting set student numbers.

It is the second for-profit college to achieve the full university title. The College of Law, which became the University of Law, was granted the title at the end of last year.

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BPP chief executive Professor Carl Lygo said: "I am delighted that BPP University becomes the UK's first independent private university dedicated to business and the professions. I congratulate the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on its thorough review of BPP which clearly set very high standards for all those aspiring to become a UK university."

He added: "We give students what they want and need: practice-facing programmes which will equip them for the world of work. It's a culture of professionals teaching professionals - all our staff have practical professional real-world experience which hugely enriches the classroom experience. Our quality is second to none and we are no more expensive than the vast majority of public sector providers."

But the University and College Union (UCU) warned against the move.

UCU president Simon Renton said: "We have serious concerns that this move could open the floodgates for more for-profit companies to become universities. A quick glance across the pond warns us of the risks associated with that sort of move."

He said the union would ask the Government to "think hard about awarding for-profit companies university titles and consider the UK's proud reputation for university excellence".

The new university currently charges tuition fees of around £5,000 per year for a three-year degree.

Tuition fees were tripled last year, and universities are now allowed to charge up to a maximum of £9,000 per year.

BPP was originally awarded the title of university college by Universities Minister David Willetts in 2010. It was the first time a private institution had been awarded the title for 30 years.

Willetts said that BPP's new title was "an important step towards increasing the diversity of the higher education sector".