For-profit university on the march

06 Sep 2011

 BPP University College - which is owned by the US based for-profit Apollo Group  - has parked its tanks firmly on the lawns of its public sector competition by setting undergraduate fees at £5,000 for next year.

The fees - which will be lower than those set by most English universities  - will apply to BPP's undergraduate programmes in law, business, accountancy and finance, across all 6 of its city centre locations: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London, Swindon and Manchester. 

BPP became the first for-profit provider to be granted university college status last year and recent changes mean that its undergraduates will, from 2012, be eligible for government loans of up to £6,000 a year.  

As a private sector body, BPP is not limited by government constraints on student numbers and is free to expand its share of the HE market. It is also free to set fees above the £9,000 ceiling imposed on pubic universities. However, this competitive decision over fees shows it is looking to compete aggressively with mainstream universities.  BPP says it doubled its undergraduate intake this year.

A 3 year degree at BPP will cost £15,000 compared to closer to £27,000 at most Russell Group universities. BPP also offers undergraduates the chance to take a degree in two years (as happens at the private University of Buckingham). The two year course will cost £6,000 a year, or £12,000 in total. 

Acknowledging the competitive aim of its fees strategy, the CEO of BPP University College, Carl Lygo, said 'our mission is to challenge the educational status quo by providing an affordable, high quality career focused degree'.

 He added: 'Universities have been forced, many for the first time, to make some tough decisions in order to compete in a changing and challenging environment.  At the heart of this is the student, who deserves value for money and the chance to improve their employability prospects and, as a sector, we mustn’t lose sight of this'.

Apollo Group - which runs the huge University of Phoenix in the USA and has educational interests around the world - acquired BPP in July 2009 and many expected this was the first step towards extending BPP College beyond its main focus of legal training. 

BPP now offers undergraduate degrees in law, business, accounting, and psychology and from next year also plans courses in banking & finance.

 BPP degrees offer both face-to-face and online teaching. The £5,000 tuition fee is exactly in line with the fees to be charged by the Open University from September 2012.

BPP website:

The Open University:

User Comments

Rebecca Hanson - 06 Sep 2011


Thanks for the clear information Mike.

Does anyone have any information on how strictly caps on university place numbers have been operating until now?

How much are fees still subsidised?

Nigel de Gruchy - 07 Sep 2011

BPP University

Thanks Mike for your usual succinct and interesting report which gets straight to the key points.
Best wishes,

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