History: The college operates from seven sites in Bedford, Luton and Rushden, with all the higher education provision based on the Cauldwell Street Campus in Bedford. It was incorporated in April 1993 as Bedford College of Further and Higher Education and renamed Bedford College the following year.
Address: Main site is right in the heart of Bedford, on the banks of the River Ouse.
Ambience: A rapidly expanding college with strong links with local businesses and the community. Students have praised the friendly atmosphere and helpful staff and tutors. Exam results have risen dramatically in recent years.
Who's the boss? Ian Pryce, principal and chief executive.
Prospectus: 01234 291 000, or download one of their prospectus here.
UCAS code: B23
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Easy to get into? Shouldn't be too hard - keen to widen participation.
Foundation degrees: Animation for industry, animal management, building services and sustainability, child and adolescent studies, IT networking and security, media production, music technology, psychology and crime, sustainable construction, and sport fitness and personal training.
Vital statistics: 18,000 students studying everything from foundation degree-level and professional qualifications to office skills and adult literacy courses. The college is a partner of the University of Bedfordshire. More than £5m has recently been invested in new facilities, including a sports centre and a jet aircraft. A new £6m arts centre opened in 2007.
Added value: An impressive five Centres of Vocational Excellence - in plumbing services, house building for the future, health and social care skills, supervisory and management skills and skills for energy. The college offers flexible HE courses, many of which can be studied part-time to fit around work. A variety of sports academies offer top-class coaching in sports such as football, rugby, rowing, cricket and golf. There's also an award-winning restaurant on the fifth floor of one of the college's buildings.
Teaching: In 2008 Bedford College achieved an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’, the highest grade available.
Any accommodation? None provided by the college.
Cheap to live there? In 2013, students pay between £70 and £90 per week for a room in a shared flat.
Transport links: The main site is five minutes walk from Bedford bus and rail stations. Thameslink trains connect with London every 15 minutes and national rail takes about 35 minutes to Kings Cross. Direct trains connect with Gatwick and Luton airports. The town is a short drive from junction 13 of the M1 and 30 miles from Cambridge, 70 miles from Oxford and 57 miles from London.
Fees: For full-time study, foundation degrees cost £6,000 per year, HNCs/HNSDs £4,960 per year, Cert. Ed./PGCEs £4,450 (1 year course) and Access Courses £1,420 (also 1 year course).
Bursaries: Some courses are eligible for bursaries. Contact the college for more details.
THE FUN STUFF
Nightlife: There is no students union, but the town has many nightclubs and pubs.
Sporting reputation: There's a £2.5 million sports centre where you can indulge your every whim in a quest for fitness and general wellbeing.