Newsweek: Trouble with a Global University

Newsweek takes a look at several major universities who have made moves internationally.  The article suggests that these universities want to embrace globalization and improve outreach to international students.  This means both increasing students at their local campuses and adding satellite campuses.  However, this has some drawbacks on both fronts as the article points out.  In the case of international students on local campuses, they cite the University of Iowa example:

“Admissions from foreign high schools make up 10 percent of the freshmen at its already overcrowded Iowa City campus. The impetus isn’t solely cultural diversity. The visitors pay the $23,713 out-of-state tariff, versus $7,417 for local residents. Unfortunately, Iowans who are displaced are finding they have to settle for the Cedar Rapids branch or a community college, a hidden cost to going global. This year, the university overbooked its incoming class by some 400 students, setting off a scramble for space in dorms and classes.”

Adding campuses abroad can be equally problematic and expensive.  Here they refer to examples at Georgetown and Cornell:

“When it comes to establishing university outposts overseas, however, there are tremendous inefficiencies. Cornell has a satellite medical school in Qatar, which produced all of 17 physicians this year. Georgetown conducts a foreign-service program, also in Qatar.”

Despite these drawbacks, there will likely continue to be an increased pressure to “go global” because international students are attracted by the US and the quality of US universities, and international students on campus draw revenue and diversity to the university.  Similarly, adding campuses abroad appeals to US universities because they believe it will add prestige and increased exposure, and in the long-run it will add revenue as foreign government and/or foreign private donors — who want quality education in their home countries and want to associate themselves with well-regarded US universities — will start making sizeable contributions.

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