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Solent University name change proposal

We have applied to the OfS to change our name

11th March 2024

We have applied to the Office for Students (OfS) to change our name from ‘Solent University’ to ‘Southampton Solent University.’

The title of Southampton Solent University was previously used between 2005 and 2017.

Following extensive research with key stakeholders, including potential students, the knowledge of the University’s geographical location in Southampton city centre has been highlighted as an important factor to our external relationships, in recruitment, and for our reputation.

The OfS will be holding an open consultation to all relevant stakeholders on the proposed name change, and staff and students are invited to share their views. Consultation will open on Thursday 14 March.

Share your feedback on our proposal >

The survey will close at 12 noon on Thursday 25 April.


What is this about?

Solent University, Southampton has requested to change its name to ‘Southampton Solent University’. The Office for Students, which has registered Solent University as a higher education provider, is now consulting on our behalf regarding the proposed new name.

When is the consultation period?

The Office for Students’ consultation period on the name change of Solent University, Southampton to ‘Southampton Solent University’ runs from Thursday 14 March to midday on Thursday 25 April 2024.

Who can submit a response to the consultation?

There is no limit on who can respond to this consultation; however, the Office for Students is particularly interested in hearing from:

  • Existing or potential future students of Solent University
  • Other providers of education with a similar geographic descriptor or based in the same geographic area
  • Professional organisations and local employer groups that work with Solent University
  • Local, regional, or other bodies with similar names to the proposed name ‘Southampton Solent University’
  • Local emergency services to Solent University
  • Higher education membership groups

Why has Solent requested to change its name?

Since 2017, we have been known as ‘Solent University, Southampton’ but are more often referred to as ‘Solent University’. We have come to understand, through research among our student, staff and stakeholder community, that it is not immediately clear where our institution is situated. With this in mind, we have taken the decision to formally request the change of our name to ‘Southampton Solent University’, which was our name between 2005 and 2017 and we believe clarifies our location and purpose.

Why is the Office for Students leading the consultation?

The Office for Students (OfS) has the power to approve the use of the word ‘university’ in a registered higher education provider’s name under section 77 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and section 39 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998. The OfS has published guidance for registered higher education providers that wish to use ‘university’ as part of their name. In that guidance, the OfS states that it will consult on a provider’s proposed new name.

When will the name change be implemented?

Following the completion of the consultation in May, the Office for Students will undertake a suitability assessment and make a recommendation to the Department for Education. We expect to find out in the summer months if our name change has been approved. If approved, our intention is to implement the change starting in the Autumn.

Why are we changing our name now?

Following extensive research with key stakeholders, including current and potential students, the knowledge of the University’s location in Southampton city centre is an important factor in both our collaboration with local and national stakeholders and likely success in future recruitment. Being explicit regarding our locality in Southampton further aligns our mission as a civic university driving local and regional growth.

What are the cost implications of changing our name?

Minimal. Our physical position within Southampton is important to showcase, especially for those stakeholders less familiar with our location. Hence, we will focus on our digital materials to start and move onto other collateral such as marketing materials in the usual way, coinciding with the recruitment cycle. Initially, any changes to physical signage will be limited and aligned to other programmes of essential work.

How will this affect students?

We don’t anticipate any direct impact on our current students during this process and expect that the name change will be positively received, allowing the students to continue to be proud of their contribution to the city of Southampton.

How will this affect staff?

We don’t anticipate any direct impact on our staff during this process. Our marketing and communications team will provide updated materials, including brand assets, when the change is confirmed.

How will this affect potential students?

We are confident that this name change will offer clarity on the location of Solent University to students nationally and internationally. We believe this change will simplify pathways for prospective students and make their application route simpler.