UCL has become the latest university to announce the closure of an international branch campus amid concerns over the future of the overseas outpost model.
A spokeswoman at UCL said that the university’s Qatar campus would close in October 2020 on completion of its contract with the Qatar Foundation. She added that the decision was taken jointly by UCL and the Qatar Foundation.
The university closed its Australia campus in 2017 and ceased teaching in Kazakhstan in 2015.
Meanwhile, other UK universities made losses on their branch campuses last year.
The University of Central Lancashire’s financial statements show that its Cyprus campus, which opened in 2012 and received a licence to operate as a legally autonomous Cypriot institution in 2015, made a deficit of £1.9 million in 2018 and £2 million in 2017.
A spokesman for the university said that the losses were “not unexpected and in line with our business planning”.
The University of Liverpool’s financial accounts also reveal that its China campus “has accumulated net losses”. A spokeswoman said that the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University campus, which was set up around 10 years ago, made cumulative losses of £13.4 million during the period to July 2016. However, she added that it has since made surpluses of £1 million in 2016-17 and £1.4 million in 2017-18.
“It is anticipated that within the medium term continued surpluses will result in an accumulated net asset position for XJTLU,” she said.
Nigel Healey, vice-chancellor of Fiji National University and an expert on branch campuses, said the fact that universities were “still predominantly small, local and deeply conservative institutions suggests that there is no compelling drive for them to grow across national borders”.
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