Collegiate university, Loosely federated colleges

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A collegiate university (also federal university or affiliating university) is a university in which governing authority and functions are divided between a central administration and a number of constituent colleges. Often, the division of powers in a collegiate university is realized in the form of a federation, analogous to the geopolitical arrangement in which a country comprises member regions (provinces, states, etc.) and a central federal government.


Some colleges are part of loose federations that allow them to exercise nearly complete self-governance. In the United Kingdom, the colleges of the University of London perform almost all the duties of a university with the exception of the awarding of degrees (although some of the larger colleges of the University of London, such as University College London, King's College London and the London School of Economics, have recently begun to award their own degrees). In the United States, many state university systems consist of campuses that are almost independent, spread out across different parts of the state. Examples of such institutions include the University of California, the State University of New York, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas System.

Over time, loosely federated schools may formally end their relations with the parent university to become degree-awarding universities. Examples include Cardiff University (formerly named the University of Wales, Cardiff) and Imperial College London. The National University of Ireland was a federation of three constituent colleges and other recognised colleges until 1997 when the colleges, along with Maynooth, a recognised college, became constituent universities.

University of Wales, Lampeter (formerly St David's College, Lampeter), ceased to confer its own degrees when it joined the University of Wales, but retains the right to confer degrees and other qualifications, and still awards the Licence in Theology (LTh) in its own right. University of Wales, Trinity Saint David came into existence in July 2010, comprising two colleges the Saint David's Campus (formerly known as University of Wales, Lampeter and Saint David's College, Lampeter) and Trinity Campus (formerly known as Trinity University College and Trinity College, Carmarthen).

Historically, the University of Dundee and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne were colleges of the University of St Andrews and the University of Durham, respectively, before they became independent.

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