History: An independent FE institution, born out of the Southport Technical College (founded 1935) and Southport College of Arts and Crafts (1938). The two institutions merged in 1983 to create Southport College, as it is known today.

Address: Based at a main campus on Mornington Road, in the heart of the seaside town of Southport.

Ambience: The main campus is a blend of old and new with some original buildings dating back to the 1930s and extensions that have been added from the 1960s onwards. The campus is within walking distance of Southport's main attractions, including the famous Victorian Lord Street shopping parade, the seafront and the pier.

Who's the boss? John Clake has been principal snice 2011.

Prospectus: 0845 0066 236 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: S35

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Entry requirements depend on the course, but the college is keen to widen participation. HE courses require a Level 3 qualification.

Foundation degrees: Integrated children’s/young people’s practice and new media design and technology.

Vital statistics: The college provides education and training to thousands of students every year and has partnerships and associations with local HE institutions Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Central Lancashire and Edge Hill University. It caters for a range of ages - from 14-year-old students on School Links programmes to adult learners over 90 years old - and offers courses at all levels, from basic skills up to foundation degrees and a postgraduate Certificate in Education. It also has an established employer services department that provides bespoke business training solutions to employers across the North West.

Added value: Success rates and student satisfaction levels are good. The college boasts modern accommodation including spacious art studios, construction workshops and a large learning resource centre with computer access for all students. Recent developments have seen £10m invested in the campus on a sports centre and fitness suite, performing arts centre with an auditorium, rehearsal rooms and a foyer with bar, a refectory and landscaped gardens.

Transport links: Southport is well served with transport links; the railway station is only a five-minute walk away from the College and provides links to Liverpool and Manchester. Buses from across the region stop regularly on Lord Street which is also a five-minute walk from the College.

Teaching: Graded 'good' overall in a 2008 Ofsted inspection. Health, care and public services were deemed to be 'outstanding'.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college.

Cheap to live there? Some areas of Southport have weekly rent starting at £50 for a room in a shared house while wallet-friendly accommodation can also be found in nearby Liverpool.

Fees: Vary by course and qualification. £5,200 per year for full-time higher education courses lasting two years. Three year part-time equivalents cost £3,000 per year.

Bursaries: Students may be able to apply through validating universities.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: The town of Southport offers a vast array of clubs and bars as well as many restaurants and bistros, a cinema, three theatres and a number of live music venues. Couple that with easy transport links to the cosmopolitan cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Preston and students really are spoilt for choice.

Sporting facilities: Free gym membership and the opportunity to join student sports teams.

Glittering alumni: Comedian Alexei Sayle; chef Marcus Wareing; musician Marc Almond; Steven Fletcher, actor.