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International students on-campus vs studying wholly overseas Of the plethora of ways in which universities can teach foreign students in their own countries, the best known is distance learning.
Although the emergence of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, opens up the possibility that anyone with an internet connection can enrol at a major US university, distance learning has been around for decades in the guise of correspondence courses.
But for every student who shivers on a UK campus, there are many more who cannot come to the UK for study, either because they cannot afford the cost of tuition and board or because they are deterred by distance or cultural or religious factors.
Licensing degrees to local partners opens up this new market.
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In 2010-11, more than 330,000 foreign students were enrolled on UK degrees through such franchisees, compared with 94,000 taking courses by distance learning and 10,000 students enrolled at satellite campuses like the University of Nottingham Malaysia.
Offering licensed degrees at much lower tuition fees, which students can study in their own countries, creates a new source of demand for UK degrees and, after deducting local costs and service fees, potentially leaves a healthy royalty for the universities involved.