If you are looking to study in London, you may be feeling slightly bewildered by the number of Higher Education Institutes promoting their services to you. Research shows that in 2008/9 426,175 students were registered in colleges in London. London is home to 60 publicly funded universities and colleges which are assessed by the UK Quality Assurance Agenc. In addition to these publicly funded Educational organisations, exist a multitude of specialist Independent colleges offering courses ranging from Diplomas in Fashion Drawing to Masters of Business and Administration.
Locating the Best Colleges in London
As a prospective International student it is possible that you have found your chosen college in London using the internet. Please beware of bogus colleges and do the maximum amount of research possible before parting with any cash!
Be certain that the qualifications delivered by the college are valid. Many bogus colleges in London draw in students from overseas by alleging to have the same qualification awarding powers as UK universities.
UK Recognised Higher Education Awarding Bodies
The UK Higher education system maintains its acclaimed global reputation by adhering to strict regulations. In order for an HEI to be recognised as a university with awarding powers it is required to undergo review by ACDAP, a division of the UK QAA.
The HEI can only issue certified qualifications independently and be listed as a Recognized Body by the DBIS after it has been approved by ACDAP.
Beware of Sham Colleges in London
As a rule Independent colleges do not have the authority to issue their own UK degrees, unlike universities, and are not obligated by law to be monitored by an external quality agency. If you are a prospective International student about to apply to any of the private colleges in London, please make the following checks before signing anything.
* Do not approach any private college without accreditation from an independent external quality agency such as the British Accreditation Council (BAC).
* Check that the college is listed on the register of Listed Bodies by the DBIS, and linked with a Recognized Body, or official university.
* Ensure that the college is partnered with an internationally recognized awarding body by checking on UK NARIC.
* Ensure the college provides accredited qualifications from approved awarding organisations such as Edexcel by checking the Register on the OFQUAL website.
* Do not choose a college which is not authorized by the UK Border Agency to enrol international students.
* Visa letters (CAS letters) can only be issued by registered colleges with a valid Tier 4 licence from the UK BA.
With so much scope for opportunity and self-development, your time spent studying in London could be life-changing, so to ensure you take the best choice from your short-listed colleges in London make sure you ask the right questions and do your research.