Up to 10 smaller higher education institutions in England are now eligible to become universities under government changes announced on Monday.
The number of students required for a university has been reduced from 4,000 to 1,000.
But the government has been criticised for not introducing primary legislation in its reforms of the higher education sector.
Labour called the plans “nothing more than small technical details”.
The announcements came in a ministerial response to the Higher Education White Paper from David Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science.
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