Michael Horn, a senior strategist at Guild Education, says the idea could appeal to other U.S. universities with an overseas footprint, provided infection rates are low enough to allow for reopening. “If international students aren’t going to be allowed in the U.S., this can create some sense of intimacy and proxy for the campus life that they were promised,” he says.
Providing some semblance of physical community can supplement what is otherwise an online instructional experience, he adds. And it’s a selling point “especially if colleges are holding the line on charging students full tuition.”
That may be a harder sell in the U.S., and not just because flaring infection rates have led a growing number of universities to start the new academic year with remote learning. Driven by low interest rates, many colleges have been expanding campuses in recent years, Horn notes, to the point where some have “overbuilt.” It’s unlikely that traditional institutions will consider this option near their home campus, he adds4