Why so young? It's the product of a merger between art colleges in Canterbury, Rochester and Maidstone, which date back to the middle of the 19th century. They decided there was strength in one institute rather than three sparring partners.
Address: Three campuses - Canterbury, Maidstone and Rochester.
Ambience: All sites are concrete and brick constructions amid pleasant greenery on the outskirts of town. Different courses at each. Canterbury, 65 miles from London, has fine art and architecture and is purpose-designed for studio work. Rochester, 40 miles, has photography, fashion and design. Maidstone, 45 miles, has visual communication which includes time-based- media, photomedia, graphics and illustration. Canterbury most lively because it's a student town.
Vital statistics: One of the biggest art and design institutions in the United Kingdom, it boasts almost 3,000 students, the vast majority on full-time courses. Only 300 on part-time and evening classes. New courses planned for the year 2000 range from BA in fashion promotions to a postgraduate certificate in art and design research. Overseas students flock here - 20 per cent are from abroad. But Kent was hit by a new cap imposed by Norwegian government on how many students it would fund to study British art and design courses. It currently has 95 from Norway. Many of those will disappear. Male/female ratio 48:52.
Added value: Each campus has its own gallery where students can show their stuff and view work by outsiders.
Easy to get into? Art and design students have to have completed a foundation course, BTec diploma or advanced GNVQ. For architecture, you need two A levels totalling 16 points. Portfolio essential.
Glittering alumni: Tony Hart, TV personality and artist; Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer; Tracey Emin, artist; Martin Lambie-Nairn, inspiration behind "Spitting Image"; George Rodger, late photo journalist; Arnold Schwartzman, Oscar-winning film maker. (Ian Dury, of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, was a member of staff.)
Transport links: Train takes 1 hour from Canterbury, less from two other sites. Or try the car. Or escape to France via Eurotunnel at Ashford.
Who's the boss: Prof. Vaughn Grylls who makes huge historical/political photo-montages e.g. Site of the Assassination of President Kennedy.
Teaching: Rated satisfactory in architecture under old methodology. Has yet to be assessed for art and design.
Research: Beat 14 new universities in the 1996 research assessment exercise. Scored a 3b for art and design (top grade is 5) and a 2 for history of art and architecture.
Financial health: In the red in each of the three years 1994-98, according to Noble's Higher Education Financial Yearbook. College says it's in the black now.
Nightlife: Each site has its own student union and bar offering cheap beer and events - from gigs to poetry readings. Rochester has good pubs, Canterbury and Maidstone good range of clubs.
Cheap to live in? You pay pounds 57.50 for self-catering ensuite study bedrooms in hall; pounds 40-pounds 55 for private rented accommodation.
Buzz-request: Meet me in the haunted fish tank (Maidstone's reception/gallery area)
Next week: King Alfred's College, WinchesterReuse content