Branch campuses spread East to meet Asian demand

The number of overseas branch campuses set up by universities has reached 200 with another 37 planned, as activity shifts from the Gulf region to Asia.

January 12, 2012

The findings come in the latest report from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, published on 12 January. UK universities are at the forefront of growth, nearly doubling their number of outposts in the past two years to 25.

The OBHE report was published as the University of Central Lancashire announced plans to become the first UK institution to open a campus in Thailand. The universities of Reading and Lancaster also recently announced offshoots in Malaysia and China respectively.

Uclan aims to open its venture, in which it will invest £7.5 million, in 2014 and to build student numbers to 5,000 within 10 years.

International Branch Campuses: Data and Developments, written by OBHE director William Lawton and research analyst Alex Katsomitros, updates its last such study in September 2009. The 200 branch campuses identified globally represent an increase of 23 per cent on the number cited in the previous report.

However, the new analysis revises the definition of a branch campus - for example, excluding those offering only pre-degree-level courses - making direct comparisons with the 2009 figures difficult.

The report provides a list of 37 branch campuses planned by universities and scheduled to open in 2012 or 2013 (13 from the US).

Fees data were collected from 154 branch campuses, with the undergraduate mean average for 2010-11 of $13,800 (£8,918) and the median average of $9,700 casting "doubt on any notion that study at branch campuses represents a cheap alternative".

For universities, the benefits of branches include "greater access to an expanding student market, especially in Asia where demand...is expected to continue to outstrip supply for another 20 years", the report says. For many governments, especially in Asia and Africa, hosting campuses is "preferable to the outward migration of young people".

US universities still account for the greatest number of campuses abroad (78). While the United Arab Emirates continues to host the largest number (37), the report notes that there are no new branches planned there. "The centre of gravity is clearly shifting eastwards from the Gulf," it states.

The report says that this movement shows the responsiveness of Western institutions to China's "determination to act on the world stage in higher education - a determination backed up with state funding".

Lower-risk niche campuses focusing on specific subject areas "represent a trend which is likely to assume greater prominence in coming years - and may become the typical branch-campus model", the report adds.

john.morgan@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy