The Chronicle of Higher Education. August 8, 2013. By Charles Huckabee. British education authorities have granted full university status to an institution owned by the Apollo Group, the corporate parent of the University of Phoenix,BBC News reports. With the move, BPP University College of Professional Studies, which offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business and law, now becomes BPP University.
The University and College Union, Britain’s main faculty union, criticized the decision. “We have serious concerns that this move could open the floodgates for more for-profit companies to become universities,” the group’s president, Simon Renton, said. The faculty union has been a leading opponent of for-profit colleges and universities in Britain as the government has become more welcoming of them.
BPP University is the second for-profit college to achieve university status in Britain, after the University of Law won similar approval last fall.
Carl Lygo, BPP’s chief executive, said he was “delighted that BPP University becomes the U.K.’s first independent private university dedicated to business and the professions.” He defended the institution’s quality, saying it gives students “what they want and need: practice-facing programs which will equip them for the world of work.”
He added that the institution was “no more expensive than the vast majority of public-sector providers.” BPP now charges annual tuition of about £5,000, or $7,700, according to the BBC. Britain’s public universities can charge up to £9,000 a year.