A £20m grant from a leading development agency has brought plans for a university in Peterborough closer.
The new university should be finished by 2008
A deal has been agreed between the city's Regional College and Anglia Ruskin University to develop a centre on the college's campus.
It could see the number of people studying at higher education levels in the city rise from 850 to about 3,000.
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) awarded the money to Anglia Ruskin University.
EEDA is committed to economic growth and vocational education in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The funding will also be used for a new university building at Harlow College in Essex, and the new facilities will see both campuses working with local industry.
Professor David Tidmarsh, vice-chancellor of Anglia Ruskin, said: "We are delighted to have reached outline agreement on the funding of the new facilities.
"This is a major step towards the creation of self-sustaining university centres, which will help to widen higher education participation."
It is hoped the new centres will boost skills across the East of England.