The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) have agreed to merge.
ECA’s Board of Governors met on 21 September and agreed to the deal. Six days later, the University Court met and also consented.
The full merger proposal document will now be submitted to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council to await their approval.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell will receive the document, and the University expects he will open a twelve-week public consultation period with a final decision not expected until February 2011.
In a joint email to all University of Edinburgh students and staff, Principal Timothy O’Shea and EUSA president Liz Rawlings confirmed that negotiations were officially over and the institutions' wish to merge.
The email read: “The College and the University agreed earlier this year that the two institutions should explore ways of strengthening collaborative working arrangements, including the possibility of merger.
“The detailed proposals were developed following consultation with staff, students, and other stakeholders. The vision is of a vibrant, growing and sustainable Art College that combines the knowledge, skills, and expertise of each institution, and enhances the high international reputation that both enjoy.
“EUSA supports the proposed merger, which offers huge opportunities both academically and socially for students at the University.”
Plans for the University and College to merge were announced back in February, the earliest date possible being set in 2013.
The fact that negotiations were brought forward has led to speculation that ECA's financial position leaves them with no alternative but to merge with the University.
If the proposal is ratified, the institutions will officially join on 1 August 2011.