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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Freshers set to boost population
The merged university will accommodate 30,000 students
The North West's population will rise dramatically in the coming weeks as students return for a new term.

Thousands of freshers were turning up for their first day on Monday at university in Preston.

The number studying at the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) make up one sixth of the city's population.

Later this month students will enrol at the newly merged Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST as well as Liverpool and Lancaster universities.

Victoria University's Vice Chancellor Professor Alan Gilbert said the new institution will rival Oxford and Cambridge when the merger is complete, and will be the largest institution of its kind in the country.

The government has provided 65m for the changes, and a further 17m grant has come from the Science Research Investment Fund.

The new university will be one of Britain's biggest, accommodating nearly 30,000 students and attracting large research grants.

It will be the largest single site university in the UK, and will have more academic subjects and departments than any other British university.

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