History: Origins go back to the early sixties when it first became a college. Tameside College was formed in February 1998 from the merger of Tameside College of Technology and Hyde-Clarendon College. It operates on four main sites, eight miles east of Manchester.

Address: Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

Ambience: Big, friendly and sociable. A top FE college with lots of adult learners. The college says it wants to make coming to college about more than just getting a qualification.

Who's the boss? Peter Ryder is college principal.

Prospectus: 08454 665 566 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: T10

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Varies with course and qualification. HE courses require a Level 3 qualification

Vital statistics: Around 2,500 full-time and approximately 7,000 part-time students with 230 on higher education courses. Offers vocational courses to school leavers and higher education programmes in the shape of HNCs, HNDs and foundation degrees, as well as a number of teaching and management courses. Works in partnership with UCLAN, the University of Huddersfield and the University of Sunderland.

Added value: Tameside is a National Beacon College of Excellence and has the North of England Centre for Engineering Excellence (NECEE). Part of a football academy with Stalybridge Celtic Football Club and Tameside College/Hyde Clarendon College and Navigation Education. Has invested more than £1m in engineering provision and more than £3m in improved learning facilities in recent years.

Teaching: 'Good' or 'excellent' or above in every curriculum area inspected by Ofsted in 2009. Outstanding social and educational inclusion.

Foundation degrees: Enterprise computing; building services and sustainable engineering; business and accounting management; sport coaching and fitness therapy; training and work-based learning.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college.

Cheap to live there? Yes - last year students paid between £55 and £75 per week for a room in a shared flat.

Transport links: Bus stop outside college bus stations in Stalybridge and Ashton. There are M60 links, and train stations at Ashton and Stalybridge.

Fees: The university course fees vary quite widely, starting from around £1,200 for HE courses and going up to £5,895 for specialised diplomas such as sports coaching and engineering.

Bursaries: None offered by the college.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Stalybridge, 10 minutes away by car, is apparently known locally as 'Staley Vegas' and has loads of bars, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. Or there's nearby Manchester for a really big night out on the tiles.

Sporting facilities: Plenty of teams to get involved in and facilities to make use of in Ashton.

Glittering alumni: Singer Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) and Dawn Acton, who played Tracey Barlow in Coronation Street from 1988 until 1999.