The University of Arizona is branching out across the globe to offer more of its degrees on more foreign campuses.
The school recently announced plans for a network of satellite sites from Mexico to the Middle and Far East that will allow foreign students to graduate from the UA without leaving their homelands.
Backers say the setup will boost the Tucson school’s international reputation while potentially adding millions of dollars a year to its coffers.
Plans call for nearly a dozen new UA “micro-campuses” to open later this year on the grounds of universities in other countries.
Students there can earn two bachelor’s degrees simultaneously — one from the UA, taught in large part online, and one from their home institution.
“The University of Arizona is reimagining what it means to be an international university in a digital age,” UA President Ann Weaver Hart said in a news release announcing the changes.
The micro-campus concept offers twin benefits of low overhead and minimal start-up costs.
Instead of building its own international facilities, the UA partners with host universities that provide program space in exchange for a cut of tuition revenue.
The UA provides a handful of people to run things overseas and the expertise of UA faculty who teach much of the material online from Tucson.
The effort was launched in China last year in a partnership with Ocean University in Qingdao.
It generated about $250,000 in new revenue for the UA during its first year, and could eventually bring in more than $1 million a year, said Brent White, the UA’s vice provost for international education.
And that’s just at one site. The gains could be multiplied many times over if the new satellites are similarly successful.
The UA also opened a site in Cambodia last year and plans to launch 11 more as follows:
- UA Amman at Princess Sumaya University of Technology, Jordan
- UA Bandung at Telkom University, Indonesia
- UA Beirut at Lebanese International University, Lebanon
- UA Hanoi at Vietnam National University
- UA Hualien City at Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
- UA Manila at De La Salle University, Philippines
- UA Puebla at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico
- UA Shanghai at Shanghai University of Politics and Law, China
- UA Sharjah at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
- UA Shenzhen at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China
- UA Taipei at Soochow University, Taiwan
Tucson students with the means to travel would be able to take UA classes at any of the international sites.
The plans still need approval from the UA’s accreditor. If all goes well the new sites are expected to start enrolling students this fall.