- The University of Arizona is partnering with universities throughout the world to establish ‘microcampuses’ over the next three years, where the school will partner with other campuses to educate more than 25,000 students, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- The university’s first microcampus at Ocean University of China, in Qingdao, has offered a dual undergraduate law degree program for two years, while the second location at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia will offer degree programs in business administration, civil engineering and law when it opens this month.
- Tuition will be split between the University of Arizona and the partner institutions, and the charges will be far less than if an international student traveled to the United States to receive a degree from a college or university here. Proponents say the deal will be attractive and the microcampuses should make money.
As international students opt not to apply for universities in the United States continues to drop due to high tuition prices and uncertainty about how the country’s politics will affect them, this could be a method for universities to continue to attract the student populations (and potential revenue generators) who are choosing not to come to them. The lower revenue generated from the reduced tuition is still money that these institutions were not likely to see otherwise, though colleges and universities may be wary of diminishing the importance of their campus in case the political and economic climates shift for international applicants.
The approach could yield dividends in the U.S., as well. In Maryland, nine smaller colleges shared one campus while also sharing faculty. The idea proved to be cost-saving for both students and schools, and it could be a way forward for colleges and universities facing financial turmoil. If enrollment continues to shrink, colleges could cut costs by reducing (or, in extreme examples, discontinuing) their campus space, operating in satellite classrooms at other campuses with space availability. The move could retain revenues (albeit likely reduced) while significantly cutting costs. It is conceivable we could begin to see colleges operating entirely within the space offered by other colleges, should the practice continue to flourish.