FT Owner Pearson To Offer Degrees

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Leading education firm, Pearson (EUREX: PSOF.EX - news) is to launch its own college offering undergraduate degrees.

It will make the company, which owns the Financial Times and Penguin (SES: E2:P13.SI - news) , the first on London's FTSE 100 (Euronext: VFTSE.NX - news) to move into the higher education market, directly giving out degrees.

A BSc in business and enterprise will be Pearson's first available course, which it says will "focus on preparing students for the world of business".

The college has developed the course alongside BT (LSE: BT-A.L - news) , Cisco, Peter Jones Foundation and Atos (Paris: FR0000051732 - news) .

Pearson College is set to open fully next year and will be supported by University of London's Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.

However, it will launch courses for a small number of people in September.

After completing an "Oxbridge-style assessment day," successful students who gain As and Bs at A-level, will study in a corporate environment at Pearson's offices in London and Manchester (Frankfurt: A0ETDJ - news) .

The courses, which will cost £6,500 a year, will also include a guaranteed internship programme and a company-based mentor for every student.

The college's managing director Roxanne Stockwell said: "Given its academic publishing heritage and business orientation, Pearson is uniquely placed to develop and deliver degrees that combine an academic foundation with business and employer needs."

The news comes following a Government initiative to let more private companies into higher education.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "We remain committed to the vision we set out in last year's Higher Education (HE) White Paper.

"We want a diverse, competitive HE sector that can offer different types of higher education, giving students the ability to choose between a wide range of providers."

She (SNP: ^SHEY - news) added: "We can achieve much through non-legislative action."