Unwanted branch campuses

An unwelcome higher education arrival.

University World News reports on French unhappiness at a Portuguese interloper:

Portugal’s private University Fernando Pessoa, or UFP, is planning to set up a second branch in France – despite a complaint filed last year by French Higher Education Minister Geneviève Fioraso that installation of its first university centre in France was against the law.

The UFP’s first branch, the Centre Universitaire Fernando Pessoa, was set up last November at La Garde, near Toulon in the Var, southern France. It offers humanities and social science courses and, more controversially, health studies including dentistry and pharmacology at bachelor, masters and doctoral levels.
The university claims its Portuguese degrees are valid throughout the European Union – including in France which, unlike Portugal, exercises strict selection in health studies with an 85% failure rate at the end of the first year.

In recent years many failed French medical students have continued their studies by moving to other countries such as Belgium, Romania and Spain. Now the UFP at La Garde offers them an opportunity to do so on home soil – at a cost.

UFP charges between €7,500 and €9,500 a year, compared with French university charges of €181 for first-degree general medical studies and €250 for a masters.

It is a surprising situation. UK institutions do not exactly welcome foreign branch campuses either but there are at least six already in this country according to the OBHE plus dozens and dozens of smaller offices, most of them in London. With France’s 85% failure rate though it does look like there might be a good market for UFP’s health studies courses with their more relaxed entry requirements. Even with their significantly higher fee levels.

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