Be quids in at our branches abroad, Nottingham tells students in the UK

The University of Nottingham is offering financial incentives to UK students to jet abroad to study at its overseas campuses, raising the prospect of a potential new growth area for British institutions.

August 25, 2011

Same degree but rather cheaper for Nottingham students in China

The university is offering 10 full undergraduate scholarships to study at its branches in China and Malaysia this year - and says that from 2012, when tuition fees in England are set to rise, it will be cheaper for any English undergraduate to study at those campuses than at home.

It says that its overseas offshoots "offer a wide range of courses, taught and examined in English, to the same standard as degrees at the Nottingham UK campus".

But Roger Brown, professor of higher education policy at Liverpool Hope University, argued that if the price overseas was lower, Nottingham's case on identical quality was undermined.

Vincenzo Raimo, director of Nottingham's international office, said the scholarships to study overseas were "very much targeted at what we would call 'home students' here in the UK because we want to ensure that the campuses in China and Malaysia are international campuses, just like our campus in the UK".

The scheme should be seen in the context of "the increasing competition that is going to come from overseas" for English students as higher fees are introduced, Mr Raimo said.

"We've (already) seen that with the likes of Maastricht (University) coming here and recruiting British students and also with the increasing number of American universities recruiting British students."

Nottingham currently has about 100 British students at each of its overseas campuses. Most stay for just one or two semesters, but some complete their full degrees there.

Mr Raimo said that "from 2012, it will be significantly less expensive to study in Malaysia and China than it would in the UK".

With maximum tuition fees of £9,000 at English universities, total costs including fees and living expenses would come to £46,000 for a three-year degree, Mr Raimo said.

But in Malaysia and China total costs including fees, living costs and a return flight each year are about £30,000 and £35,000 respectively, he added. British students travelling overseas would have to pay fees upfront as they would not have access to the public loans system.

Mr Raimo said UK students could make themselves stand out in the job market by studying in Malaysia or China for the same degree as they would in Nottingham, taught to the same standard.

"There is only one University of Nottingham - it just happens that we've got campuses in three countries," he added.

However, Professor Brown said: "If the differences in price are very great (between home and overseas campuses), great enough to entice students, one has to raise questions about whether the lecturers (at Nottingham's overseas campuses) are of comparable quality. Is the student support, are the libraries, of comparable quality?"

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