New York University recently established a campus in Abu Dhabi. Yale is currently creating a liberal arts college with the National University of Singapore. Duke University is even beginning to consider partnering with the city of Kunshan in China and Wuhan University. Are these new campuses the wave of the future, or have American schools been too quick to expand?
The many new American campuses sprouting up throughout China and abroad may make it appear as though there is a high demand amongst the local population to attend American colleges. However, a recent article in Inside Higher Ed (“If You Build It, They Might Not Come”) explains why universities should do more research before running to create campuses in foreign markets.
China Market Research Group studied the market for Western education in China on behalf of Duke University, and they discovered that Chinese students do not view Chinese branches of American colleges as equivalent to their US counterparts. In fact, only ten percent of students surveyed would be interested in Duke’s management studies program in China, and sixteen percent felt they would be more interested if a component of the degree was studying in the US for at least two months. A whopping thirty percent said they would be interested if half the program occurred in the US. The report explained: “While most families have the means to pay $41,000 USD [annually] for a graduate degree and would be willing to do so for a degree earned from a prestigious university in the U.S., none are willing to pay that much for a China-based Duke MMS degree.”
Duke is still planning on opening its campus in Kunshan in fall 2012 with the graduate Masters in Management Studies program and some undergraduate non-credit programs. However, if American universities consider the important lessons-learned from this study, we can anticipate more combined programs between American colleges and their campuses abroad in the future.
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