Overseas campuses turn British universities into global brands

Higher education is becoming increasingly important to the UK economy as universities open campuses in a growing range of overseas locations.

University student international overseas campus
HE Global, which brings together UK government, higher education sector and other expertise to support and develop UK universities' transnational education activity, reported in June that there were only 15 countries worldwide in which UK universities did not offer higher education services.The trend for transnational education (defined by HE Global as education delivered in a country other than the country in which the awarding institution is based) was started in 2000 with the opening of the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia campus, followed by another campus, in Ningbo, China, four years later.Now, more than 14,000 Nottingham University students are enrolled at overseas campuses, and 10,000 international students are studying in the UK. Interviewed by vice.com, John Quirk, director of the international office at Nottingham University, says, “From our perspective, it [opening overseas campuses] is critical, because it gives you a global footprint. It means it’s not just one-way traffic.”Many other UK universities have since opened their own overseas campuses. By 2012, UK universities had opened 25 campuses in 12 countries, according to a study by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.

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Other institutions have adopted a different global strategy through partnership agreements with local providers. In 2013/14, 382,610 students were involved in transnational education with UK universities. Online courses have also become an increasingly popular option.Louise Simpson, director at the World 100 Reputation Network, a professional network for reputation managers from universities worldwide, said, “British universities need to recruit international students both from a financial point of view and also from a reputational point of view. The more international you are, the more diverse you are, and the more highly regarded you are.”Daniel Shah, assistant director of policy at Universities UK International said, “Transnational education helps UK universities reach more students, but in most cases it’s about universities building partnerships with overseas institutions to give students the benefits of a high-quality UK education closer to home.”

For more information about UK universities and education see our Education & Schools section.

Relocate Global’s new annual Guide to International Education & Schools provides a wealth of advice to anyone searching for a new school in the UK and in an international setting, and offers insights into what it takes to make the right school choice. 

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