Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is a New Zealand Government TEI (Polytechnic) located primarily in Palmerston North but has campuses also in the other parts of the lower North Island.
The main campus of UCOL Palmerston North is located in the CBD area.
UCOL was founded in 1907 and was known as the Palmerston North
Technical School. In 1971 it became the Palmerston North Technical Institute and in 1983 the Manawatu
Polytechnic. At the time it specialised in apprenticeship
courses for the trade sectors, and in hobby
classes. It also developed a range of night school programmes in business studies
for working adults.
As successive governments placed emphasis on vocational education to support New Zealand’s economic growth, the Polytechnic broadened the courses offered, but retained a focus on core vocational programmes. It now delivers Foundation and Certificate programmes, Diplomas, Degrees and some Post-Graduate options across a wide range of subjects as well as community based programmes.
In 1987 the Manawatu Polytechnic opened a small campus in Levin and the 1996 approval by government of a $22 million capital injection, enabled the rebuilding and consolidation of the Palmerston North campus onto a central city site. In late 1998 the Manawatu Polytechnic changed its name to the Universal College of Learning (UCOL).
UCOL expanded in January 2001 with the incorporation of the Wairarapa Regional Polytechnic and the integration of the Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic on 1 April 2002.
The Wanganui Regional Community Polytechnic is now called UCOL Wanganui School of Design.