The George Mason University branch campus in Songdo, South Korea, slated to open in March 2014. (Courtesy of George Mason University)
Call it a twist on college study abroad. After a few false starts, U.S. colleges and universities are setting up campuses in booming markets overseas. New York University enrolled its first class of students at a just-opened Shanghai location in August. Texas A&M University announced plans in October to open a campus in Israel in 2015. George Mason University is preparing to open a campus in South Korea next spring. The flurry of activity reflects the growing demand for higher education across the globe and increasing desire among U.S. universities to internationalize their institutions and tap new revenue sources.In some cases, local governments foot much of the bill. “Universities are looking to expand abroad in order to enhance their global prestige, their ability to compete for new students and resources and to enhance their international experience of students and faculty,” says education professor Jason Lane, a co-founder of the Cross-Border Education Research Team at the State University of New York-Albany. His team counts 178 such outposts in 53 countries — more than 11 times the 16 that existed in 1996. An additional 11 branch campuses, six of them being planned by U.S. institutions, are in the works. The U.S. has the largest presence of branch campuses: 52 U.S. universities operate 82 campuses in 37 countries, the SUNY group’s data show. The United Kingdom and Australia are next, with 22 and 15, respectively.
— USA Today