Colleges Slower to Branch Out Abroad

Ann McClure's picture

After a decade of rapid growth, universities have slowed their pace of opening branch campuses abroad, and much of the activity has moved from the Middle East to the Far East, according to a survey by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, a private British research group, scheduled for release Thursday.

The survey, based on data from the second half of 2011, found 200 degree-granting international branch campuses, with 37 more expected to open over the next two years. The group found 162 branches in a 2009 survey, and 82 in 2006.

As the focus shifts to Asia, the study found, universities are more likely to create branches by entering into partnerships with local higher-education institutions rather than creating independent entities.

“In two incredibly important markets, China and India, there’s a requirement that the foreign university partner with a local university,” said William Lawton, director of the Observatory. “In China, it seems to be because they want to have Chinese-branded education. But in India, it has more to do with domestic political tensions.”

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