Pearson sets up own college to award degrees

PEARSON will open a higher education college next month, paving the way for the FTSE 100 firm to expand into a growing market.

The owner of Penguin Books and the Financial Times yesterday announced Pearson College, which will initially offer an undergraduate degree in Business and Enterprise from bases in London and Manchester, with students guaranteed an internship at a Pearson firm as part of the course.

Tuition fees will be set at £6,500 per year, below the £9,000 cap at publicly-funded universities and it is expected that successful applicants will be able to access government-backed loans to cover the up-front charges.

“Our degrees are designed by business, delivered with business, for students who want to succeed in business,” said Roxanne Stockwell, the college’s managing director.

Pearson hopes an initial batch of 40 students will join next month. With A-level results due out tomorrow the college will initially target applicants through clearing, a system that is mainly used by students who failed to get the required grades for their first-choice university.

The government has been keen to encourage private entrants into the higher education market, with limited success. AC Grayling faced protests after announcing his £18,000 per year New College of the Humanities last summer but yesterday a spokesman said they were “very pleased” with the quality of students who were applying to join its first intake this September.

David Willetts, minister for universities and science, said: “Our reforms encourage a diverse and competitive higher education sector. We support higher education institutions and employers working together to ensure students are equipped with the skills to succeed in the workplace.”