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Writtle University College announces Anglia Ruskin merger

A small university in Essex specialising in environmental degrees has announced plans to merge with Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

A spokesperson said the restructure would secure a "sustainable future" for Writtle University College (WUC).

WUC revealed an underlying operating deficit of £1.5m in its most recently published financial statement.

The institution has previously spoken of money challenges caused by Brexit, the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

WUC vice chancellor Prof Tim Middleton said: "This proposed merger will provide a sustainable future for further education and higher education at the Writtle campus."

WUC, whose campus covers 180 hectares in Writtle village, was established in 1893 and achieved university college status in 2016.

The degrees include agriculture, animal science, conservation, equine studies and horticulture.

A total 691 higher education students completed the 2021/22 year.

'Excellent reputation'

In its annual review for the year ending 31 July 2022, the university said there was "uncertainty over the future level of funding" and said a combination of factors could "exacerbate solvency risk".

The government said in January that the cap on annual tuition fees in England would be frozen at £9,250.

Under the merger plans, the university would come under the stewardship of ARU - which has a base in Chelmsford - and the campus rebranded as ARU Writtle.

ARU vice chancellor Prof Roderick Watkins said he was "delighted" and wanted to build on WUC's "excellent reputation and vision".

A spokesman for ARU said it hoped to complete the merger by December 2023, subject to approval from education regulators.


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