THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS -

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 UCL spokes­woman said 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 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 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, vicechan­cel­lor 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”.

El­lie Both­well

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