A Christian College in Croydon, south-east London is celebrating after securing full degree awarding powers from the Office for Students (OfS).
It means that students joining Spurgeon's College on its courses from next academic year will have their qualifications awarded in the College's name for the first time and another university no longer has to act as a validator.
Spurgeon's said it marks an important step towards its ambition to become the first home-grown University in Croydon. The award is not subject specific allowing- the College to create new degrees in other disciplines.
Principal of Spurgeon's College, Rev Professor Philip McCormack said: "Securing degree-awarding powers marks a critical step in the College's journey towards becoming Croydon's first home-grown university, and we are incredibly proud to have secured approval from the OfS. This decision is the result of many years of work at the College to provide high quality teaching and to develop a strong community of students, and we are looking forward to awarding degrees to our students in the College's name."
The College aims to play an important role in supporting under-represented groups within Croydon into Higher Education. Thirty-eight per cent of its student body identify as Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and it delivers courses flexibly as weekday, evening or weekend courses.
The College said it's a significant moment for the theological education sector as it's "helping to secure the future of theology in the United Kingdom".
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and MP for Croydon North, Steve Reed MP said: "Spurgeon's College has a crucial role to play in supporting opportunity and access to quality higher education in Croydon. The OfS's decision to award full degree awarding powers is a vital step in the College's journey and ambition to become Croydon's first home-grown university, and I want to congratulate them for this fantastic progress."