London has the largest student population of any British city, although not the highest per capital. Universities in London may be divided into two groups:
First, the federal University of London, which, with over 120,000 students, is the largest contact teaching university in the United Kingdom (smaller only than the distance-education Open University) and one of the largest Universities in Europe.It comprises 19 colleges and 12 institutes, as well as a distance-learning External System. Constituent colleges have a high degree of autonomy, controlling their own admissions and degree programme, and are effectively universities in their own right.
Secondly, there are other universities not part of the University of London, most of which were polytechnics until UK polytechnics were granted university status by a 1992 Act of Parliament.