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Tue 29 Dec 2009 07:44 AM

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Downturn hits Dubai-based US universities

Some universities offering half-price tuition in bid to attract more students.

Downturn hits Dubai-based US universities
MORTAR BOARD: US universities in Dubai have seen a drop in admissions because of the global downturn. (Getty Images, for illustrative purposes only)

US universities that have opened branches in Dubai have seen a drop in admissions and are struggling to attract enough qualified students, according to a report in the New York Times.

Michigan State University’s Dubai branch, which currently has 85 undergraduates, is even offering half-price tuition in a bid to increase numbers, the report said.

“Nobody could have anticipated the global meltdown, which has certainly had a negative effect on our student marketing,” Brendan Mullan, executive director of Michigan State Dubai, told the US newspaper.

Mullan added that the campus would now take five years to break-even, two years more than originally planned, but that the university was still determined to remain in Dubai.

“We still believe this is viable and valuable. We are not compromising on quality, even if that means it takes us longer to gain traction here. We’re not just going to be a teaching storefront here; we’re going to have significant research capacity, and our commitment to Dubai is unyielding.”

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Dubai branch had originally accepted 100 students for the current academic year, however only 50 started term.

Mustafa Abushagur, president of Rochester’s Dubai campus, said the campus now planned to extend its services to undergraduate level in order to attract more students.

The report pointed out that US third level institutions have had mixed fortunes in the UAE recently.

George Mason, which was one of the first US universities to establish a branch in the UAE, closed its Ras Al Khaimah campus in May after it failing to produce any graduates.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's base as an educational hub among US institutions is gathering pace with the prestigious New York University planning to set up an exclusive arts programme in the emirate next Autumn.

The NYU arts course, which will cost about $63,000 a year, will be offered to a select group of 100 students from around the world.

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Kaptain 10 years ago

Education and Health sector still lack check and control. Proper set of guidelines need to be in place before such universities win a license to educate. Michigan State Dubai was determined not to roll back their programs, but what about the rising rents which dot the knowledge village. Ras Al Khaimah is a good choice and serene. But quality education has to be ensured.

Suzanne Ryan 10 years ago

Kaptain of Abu Dhabi correctly identifies Ras Al Khaimah as "a good choice". The American University of Ras Al Khaimah is offering an extensive English Language Program in addition to robust academics. Licensed by the Ministry of Higher Education, AURAK is currently undergoing a very rigorous review for accreditation. AURAK offers an outstanding sports program and loads of student activities. And check out the new student residence halls! AURAK is the real deal.

aslam 10 years ago

Lately, with high rise in rentals have seen steep rise in education in most of the universities in UAE, specially Dubai. This has opted many parents to migrate or send their wards to various Asian universities for higher education. Even, in these days you can find US/UK degrees with reputed universities at an affordable price with their campus in Malaysia or Singapore. Parents have to explore all possibilities before jumping to conclusions !