Staff and students at Edge Hill are celebrating after the institution received official confirmation of university status.

After a yearlong scrutiny process, Edge Hill?s Chairman of Governors David Tomkins has received the news from the Department for Education and Skills and the institution will now proceed to formal consultation on the title Edge Hill University.

Dr John Cater, Edge Hill?s Chief Executive, said: “This is the news that we have all been looking forward to and my grateful thanks and sincere congratulations go out to all of our staff, students and supporters. Edge Hill has been providing higher education for over 120 years, and we have an outstanding reputation for the excellence of our programmes, our state-of-the-art campus, the support we give to students and the employability of our graduates.

“In essence, we have been operating as a university for quite some time and I am delighted that we now officially have the status to match.”

Edge Hill achieved taught degree awarding powers in November 2005 and will now make plans to hold its own degree ceremonies, along with naming a chancellor and vice-chancellor.

“These are exciting times, not only for our staff and students, but for the people of West Lancashire,” added Dr Cater. “Edge Hill already contributes £60million to the regional economy each year and is the largest employer in the locality, providing over 1800 jobs.

“As a university we hope to continue to develop and make an even more significant impact on the region.

“But it is important that we do not rest on our laurels ? the challenge now is to ensure that we do not simply become ‘another university? and that we take the lead from the likes of Warwick and York universities, which did not exist two generations ago, by developing into a nationally recognised and progressive institution.

“I would like to see Edge Hill as one of the top five universities in the North West within the next decade.”

Third year conservation biology student Tracy Bolton is also pleased with the announcement:

“Now that Edge Hill is a university and can award its own degrees then it will hopefully begin to receive the recognition it deserves. As far as I see it, Edge Hill has been a university in all but name anyway but being able to call itself one will be a real selling point for future students.”