Document Details

Title Moving out, moving on? US-based George Mason University becomes the first institution to withdraw from the UAE
Author The Observatory on Borderless HIgher Education


US-based George Mason University (GMU) has recently announced that it will close its overseas campus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by May of this year. Officially launched in September 2006, the campus, located in Ras Al Khaimah, was one of the first foreign universities to open an overseas facility in the emirate, where, over the past three years it has been offering Bachelor’s degrees in areas of study such as business, engineering and nursing. According to representatives for the institution, several issues, the least of which is the global economic crisis, contributed to the university’s decision to close, with slower-than-expected enrolment and management challenges reportedly threatening the academic vigour of programmes on offer there. Yet while GMU is moving out of Ras Al Khaimah, at least partly because of budgetary disagreement, one of Switzerland’s Federal Institutes of Technology (EPFL) is planning to move in, with the university having signed an agreement for the development of a new offshore campus. What reasons are behind GMU’s decision to close, and how is the closure affecting the students currently enrolled there? Why is EPFL opening a campus in the emirate, and how is it going to be funded? How could GMU’s withdrawal affect Ras Al Khaimah’s reputation as a higher education host?

Date 25/03/2009
Region(s) Europe, Middle East & Gulf States, North America
Countries Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models
Topic(s) Branch Campuses, Legal and/or Contractual

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