Thursday, September 16, 2010

Top universities and their programs abroad

Yale is the latest American university to announce its plans to start a college abroad. This one is going to be in Singapore in partnership with the National University of Singapore. And it's going to be a liberal arts college.

All those are nice. But here's the kicker:

... [It] would be financed entirely by the [Singapore] government.

[Though Yale will lend its model to the program, it will not lend its name to the degree offered by the Yale-NUS College!]

The NYTimes story also makes a passing reference to the New York University's campus in Abu Dhabi. This campus, too, was "underwritten by the government there."

In contrast, a foreign university should deposit about $11 million if it wishes to establish a branch campus in India. So, any top university that might come here will do so through the partnership route -- a la Yale-NUS College -- rather than a stand-alone campus (a la NYU-Abu Dhabi).

On a related note, do read this generally negative report about overseas programs ("hollow shells") of universities. Here's an excerpt from the section about why universities might want to expand abroad:

But the main motivation for setting up branch campuses has been economic. "Branch campuses are largely tuition [rather than research] driven, and almost never operate without the expectation of revenue surpluses," [Jason] Lane [of the State University of New York in Albany] said ...