In 2008, the university entered into a ‘joint development of an international foundation college’ with INTO – some thing which caused concern to campus TUs, despite the assurances given at the time that its establishment was aimed at “securing our future and bringing in the additional funds that will let us invest in our University over the long term”
This page kept a record of Management Statements and other information regarding GCU’s relationship with INTO (plus on occasion news about other HE institutions and INTO). The university unions continued to express our concern about aspects of this relationship until it was announced in 2021 that the joint venture was being wound up – which was finalised in early 2022.
1: January 2012 The Journal:
Strathclyde refuses to get INTO partnership
Friday 20 January 2012, The Journal Glasgow Issue 7
Controversial proposals by a Glasgow-based university to carve out the recruitment and teaching of international students to a private provider have been ditched, The Journal can reveal.
Senior management at the University of Strathclyde has ended talks with INTO – a private company tasked with preparing overseas students for study at institutions across the UK – over a proposed partnership designed to boost lucrative income from foreign fees.
Under the joint venture, which has operated at Glasgow Caledonian University since 2008, overseas students are enrolled in language and foundation courses coordinated by INTO in the hope that they will then progress onto full-time fee-paying programmes at the host higher education institution.
However, the prospect of university funds being channelled into a private for-profit company raised concerns among student and staff unions who welcomed the decision to withdraw from negotiations.
Associate Deputy Principal Colin Grant informed a meeting of University Senate, the institution’s leading academic body, on November 9 that discussions had closed following a failure to agree a termination clause in the proposed contract.
Minutes of the meeting obtained by The Journal said: “The University considered the proposal by INTO to be unsatisfactory. While this was disappointing, it was acknowledged that the work done through internal collaborations would not be wasted and thanks were expressed to all the staff involved.
“The University would now consider the lessons learned from this.”
The institution would move forward b y concentrating on seeking the best from existing partnerships, Principal Jim McDonald said, adding the decision not to go ahead with the partnership illustrated the due diligence undertaken by the University. Critics this week hailed the conclusion of talks between the two.
A spokesman for lecturers’ union, University and College Union (UCU) Strathclyde branch, told The Journal: “From an early stage SUCU has advised the University management that it was inadvisable for the University to engage in discussion with INTO. UCU made it clear that we did not believe that INTO was an appropriate agent to enter into discussions with.
“We are therefore delighted at the reported decision to end these discussions. We will continue to oppose the outsourcing and privatisation of university services and functions: we do not believe that such a process is in the interests of staff, students or indeed the University as a whole.”
President of theUniversity of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA), Charandeep Singh, added: “USSA has actively campaigned against a deal with INTO and we are pleased the University is not entering into an agreement with the organisation.”
A university spokesman told The Journal: “The University of Strathclyde has a successful track record in recruiting students from overseas, it works with a number of partners and had been exploring a possible partnership with INTO University Partnerships.
“Those discussions came to an end last year without agreement.”
2. Letter from Pamela Gillies to All Staff 16/04/2008
From: Cadogan, Chris On Behalf Of Gillies, Pamela
Sent: 16 April 2008 13:16
To: * GCU All Staff
Subject: INTO joint venture partnership – note from the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pamela Gillies
I am aware that the level of anti INTO communication may have left some people feeling uncertain about this initiative and so I wanted to reassure staff once again about the partnership and to re-state some key points.
Let me again reassure you that our joint development of an international foundation college with INTO is a positive move which is good for our university, our staff, and our students. It is about securing our future and bringing in the additional funds that will let us invest in our University over the long term.
It is also very important in the modern age to promote cultural diversity on our University campus and international students are to be welcomed for the richness they provide in this regard.
The INTO partnership represents absolutely no threat to existing jobs or staff conditions.
As is standard practice in all University activities, full due diligence was carried out legally, financially, and in procurement when appointing INTO. The company and its employees have a good track record bringing additional well prepared international students to the universities it partners with and we are pleased to be joining a prestigious network of partner institutions including the universities of Newcastle, East Anglia, and Exeter.
Investment comes not from public funds (tax payers money), but from a small surplus made from our existing international activities. Any surplus coming from the partnership will bring us much needed additional funding which will allow us to continue to invest in educational provision for all our students – from the local area and around the world.
Nothing about this partnership has been secret or deliberately kept from staff. The process has been as transparent as commercial confidentiality allows and will continue to be so. All directly affected people and departments, including the International Office, Quality Office and School senior management teams have been involved in discussions and have expressed their support for the partnership, understanding that it is a positive move which will bring in additional fully prepared international students to the University. This partnership will in addition help us refresh our international curriculum.
The concept has been discussed at the Academic Policy Committee and Senate and has been approved by the Finance and General Purposes Committee and the University Court, on which there is staff representation. It is also supported by the Executive of the University Students’ Association who see the benefits of a diverse and well prepared international student community.
Details of the partnership will be finalised in the near future and further information about INTO Scotland at Glasgow Caledonian University will be available. If you have any questions in the meantime please refer to the full Q&A database on the intranet or contact Andrew Eadie on extension 1300.
Finally, in light of this I’m sure you will understand why an all-staff ‘ballot’ is not appropriate. Nevertheless, I felt it was important to reassure you of the facts, and I can advise colleagues that members of the Combined Union Committee have been invited to meet with senior university staff to discuss the joint venture partnership.
Professor Pamela Gillies
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
3. Principal’s drop-in session: INTO joint venture Wednesday April 2 2008
Questions and Answers
Text in italics represents additional information added to the record for clarification
Additional questions that have been sent to the communications team have been added to this document since the Q&A session took place
Question 1: My concern is not about the philosophy of private education as I realise the difference between INTO and Kaplan (an American company which provides international foundation programmes on a private basis for Glasgow University), but it is about the process of due diligence we went through before entering into this relationship. What do we know about their share capital or track record?
Answer (Graham Galbraith): INTO run successful ventures of this nature and are working effectively with three other universities (INTO are working in partnership with the universities of Newcastle, Exeter and East Anglia and are in the process of making agreements with other universities in the UK and overseas. The following part of this answer refers to the fact that the Combined Union Committee had circulated a statement saying that INTO Exeter had made a loss in its first year). I know you may have concerns about the fact that INTO Exeter is making a loss but let me reassure you this is quite normal in the first year of a new business and it can take three years to reach a point of profit. The important thing to know is that the individuals have a strong track record in this field and the principals were involved in the excellent and successful Study Group (a company with 20 years’ experience in this field, now wholly owned by The Daily Mail).
Answer (Principal): We have undertaken due diligence and the University Court has had a very detailed package of information on this. The Court is an eminent body of people, all strongly committed to the university, many of whom have extensive business experience. They have scrutinised the details and carried out due diligence legally, financially and in procurement. INTO chairman Andrew Colin owned Study Group, a successful company with a good track record.
Questioner interjects: INTO has share capital of £100, only a £1 share has been issued in the bank, and it has not filed reports for a year.
Answer (Gerry Milne, Depute Director of Finance): We have undertaken a full European tender procurement process. There has been significant legal and financial due diligence. We have had asset statements and been through a full external value for money exercise. The structure was considered as part of due diligence and was approved.
NOTE: The university communications team contacted INTO for more detail on the share issue. Their response was as follows:
“The operations of the parent company are being financed by considerable personal loans from its sole shareholder. Whilst INTO University Partnerships is privately owned and funded, each joint venture is a 50/50 partnership with equal board representation from the partner university and INTO University Partnerships.”
Question 2: Can you confirm some other facts? That the university will give half a million pounds of public money through funds or by getting into debt? Also that we’re handing over the top floor of the CPD centre and that staff will have to develop modules and that this is the first university to allow this company into Scotland? We are introducing the private sector to our core business and once they are in they will offer other services to international students, like catering or the creche? It’s the beginning of the privatisation of the public sector.
Answer (Principal): I will try to answer all your questions. Firstly let me say that the INTO management team has decades of experience in running international foundation courses. There are three members of our Executive on the board including myself as Principal. This is our joint venture. This is not about profits going into shareholders’ pockets. Any money we put in goes into the joint venture partnership. We are in control of our destiny. Scottish universities are signing up with Study Group and others. If we do not, we will be disadvantaged.
Answer (Graham Galbraith): TheINTO partnership has already exceeded expectations at Newcastle and the University of East Anglia. They have got experience. They have 300 to 400 agents around the world. They have a marketing machine that can take our international profile to the next level. They have a track record of recruiting students. In fact, UEA’s direct recruitment into the university itself has gone up because of increased international brand awareness as a result of their partnership with INTO. Look at the UEA website. Talk to their academics and their international team, who are very positive about it. This partnership will help our international office to grow the brand and recruit more overseas students. We will have control in respect of academic matters.
TheINTO partnership only delivers preparation programmes for undergraduate and post-graduate study.
Answer (Principal): We are not using any funding from the funding council – we are not using public money from the taxpayers. We are using some of the surplus profits from a slight increase in income from international students to invest in our future. International numbers have now plateaued, we need to remain dynamic and this will help us be so. It will be tremendous for us.
Question 3: What about employment conditions? Will there be different terms?
Answer (Graham Galbraith): Our mission is core to what we do here. I assure you that it is our intention that where an equivalent level of work is being delivered, the salary will be the same. We want the best staff and will control staffing issues. We want to pay the best to get the best. We have control over quality, which means we have control over the staff employed. If we are not happy with the quality of staffing, we will have something to say about it. It is our intention that terms will be the same where an equivalent level of work is done.
Question 4: Their agents do not work solely for INTO. At Exeter, terms and conditions would only be guaranteed for a year. We are also worried about the public sector. What do our FE partners say, who do the job INTO wants to do? What discussions did you have with them? If we trust recruitment to a private company that decides this is no longer useful, won’t it undermine our future?
Answer (Principal): This isn’t a separate private company. It is a joint venture – it is half us.
Answer (Graham Galbraith): Our main route for recruitment is through agents – we have a small international office. They are independent and all provide students for other universities. They are not sole recruiters. We have to ensure our approach and offerings are superior. This opens up a new range of agents for us. Until now we could not have capitalised on this.
We have excellent relationships with FE colleges but they would not be able to deliver the route to market that our INTO partnership will provide. We will discuss how we can make it work for all of us in Scotland.
This partnership will need investment to make it happen but money will not be taken out of our core activities to fund a pre-university vehicle.
Question 5: What about TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment)?
Answer (Graham Galbraith): We won’t be TUPE-ing any staff out of here. This partnership is different to other universities where there is significant English language provision – which we don’t have. So that’s where we need to do this deal. It is not our intention to employ staff on inferior terms. We do not want sub-standard delivery in our joint venture.
Question 6: What about resources? A floor of the CPD building?
Answer (Principal): We are, on a temporary basis, using part of the centre. It could be around two years because it takes time to build a new building. We want to provide the best environment for students. We want to re-engineer the (CPD) building – for example there is currently lots of corridor space. At the same time, we have a plan to enhance the campus and develop a new business school. We need new facilities because at the moment the CPD Centre is often used for teaching.
Question 7: I’m concerned about a lack of transparency. What will INTO get? Staff haven’t been given information. How will the residencies, student support, labs be used? The money comes from public investment and there is a question about it being invested in other services. We should be investing Scots money in Scotland’s future.
Answer (Principal): The international foundation college was raised at Senate in December and the highlights were circulated to all staff. We didn’t promote it further because we are trying to sign off a commercially confidential agreement. We are not frightened of transparency. All the information is available. Our Court and Executive are convinced it is a sound proposition. Other universities have also come to this conclusion.
Answer (Graham Galbraith): I am sure you would not expect us to reveal openly our negotiating position. There was no intention to keep things secret. That is not how we operate.
Question 8: With the new rules on visas, who will issue visas?
Answer (Graham Galbraith): We do not know yet about visas. We do not know what the immigration authority will ask.
Question 9: What happens if the students come through INTO then go elsewhere?
Answer (Principal): We guarantee successful foundation students a place but if they want to go on to somewhere else, we can’t stop them. However, I would be surprised if most would not come into our programmes. But, if an INTO joint venture student wanted to study medicine, I couldn’t say you cannot do that, nor would I want to take away such an opportunity.
Question 10: What call will INTO have on resources such as labs?
Answer (Graham Galbraith): If the INTO joint venture requires a service and we have spare capacity, if we think it is appropriate, and if it serves our needs, we will negotiate a rate. The university will be paid for any services the INTO joint venture requires. If we get a chance to provide opportunities, I think we should do so, as students will feel ownership of our university and be more inclined to come here after their foundation course. If we want to have students experience the university first hand, we would want to do that. It will be done on a case by case basis if it is appropriate.
Question 11: There is a lack of evidence of saturation of international students in postgraduate courses (an earlier reference had been made to the fact that international postgraduate student recruitment had reached a plateau)
Answer (Graham Galbraith): That was maybe a slight exaggeration, but it is true in some of our best areas. We do not want a whole class of Chinese students for example as that is not good for their experience or for diversity. We are missing a trick if we do not take larger numbers of international students. Most of our international students are postgraduate compared to other universities which have larger numbers of international undergraduates. That is because we have never been able to capitalise on innovative pathway projects such as the partnership we are talking about here.
Answer (Principal): International applications have plateaued but applications from home students have declined and we have also asked the communications team to orchestrate a campaign to promote undergraduate recruitment. (Home student numbers are capped)
Question 12: I have struggled to secure the future of the nursery. We had a great relationship with the private sector but that is coming to an end and the Executive responded that the university is not in the business of getting into bed with the private sector
Answer (Principal): We have been having discussions at Executive level about creating a new nursery, perhaps with other universities. We need a new nursery and we know we have to find new ways to fund it. I would be happy if it is a joint venture where we have a say on terms and conditions and quality, but less happy about a private venture. A new nursery is part of our campus masterplan.
Question 13: What about non-core activities like support services? INTO has a reputation for coming in and providing these other support activities.
Answer (Principal): It may be what others do but that’s not how our relationship will operate.
Answer (Andrew Eadie, Director of Quality): These services are part of a support contract. There will be no drain on our support services. (The joint venture partnership will pay for any university services it uses).
Answer (Graham Galbraith): That is not our intention. The intention is focused on providing a pathway for international students.
Question 14: Andrew may not be concerned about a drain on resources but if more people are using the resources, such as books, won’t there be a drain on resources?
Answer (Graham Galbraith) All of these issues I can understand and if a situation arises where we feel that is happening, tell us and we will deal with it. It is not our intention to drain resources.
Answer (Andrew Eadie): We quality assured this joint venture. If there is a problem we can require the joint venture to make improvements.
Question 15: MSPs are concerned. There is a motion at City Council calling for an investigation and unions are concerned. Is the Executive prepared to think again and look at other ways to broaden the university?
Answer (Principal): I cannot see why we would do so. This is not ill thought-out. It is an important opportunity for us to raise new revenue and new routes to market. Higher education is competitive and this is about bringing additional students into our university once they are ready to join us. We have to invest to get a return, secure the future and achieve the things we believe in. The government has set up a think tank because they know there is not infinite money in our nation to continue to invest in higher education in the way they would like. We can not let the worsening external environment chip away at what we do. We must reconceive how we do that. The Court of Governors is confident this is a viable proposition and I am confident that it is good for the future of our institution.
Question 16: What about quality assurance? Will we get more details?
Answer (Graham Galbraith): We will be applying quality-assurance processes that currently exist for all programmes and modules. We are at the point of next phase – approval event etc – and we have a say and control over what is delivered and how it is delivered.
Answer (Andrew Eadie): We will report back to staff. Admissions tutors will be in control of progression to GCU. If you are not happy about any quality issue, we are not happy and we will do something about it.
Question 17: Can we meet INTO?
Answer (Principal): You will begin to see people coming on to campus. We can organise a meeting.
Principal: Thank you for your questions and for coming. Please get in touch directly if you have any additional comments.
NOTE: Further questions have been raised since Wednesday’s Q and A session. Please see answers below.
Is INTO Exeter making a loss?
“INTO University Partnerships is committed to the highest quality academic and physical standards for all of its ventures. Establishing infrastructure invariably means that high start-up costs are to be expected.
This is illustrated by the heavy first-year costs at INTO Exeter but the deficit was within expectations for the first accounting period. With enrolments at capacity, INTO Exeter is ahead of target in our first full year of operation.”
(Answer provided by INTO)
What does the £1 shareholding mean?
“The operations of the parent company are being financed by considerable personal loans from its sole shareholder. Whilst INTO University Partnerships is privately owned and funded, each joint venture is a 50/50 partnership with equal board representation from the partner university and INTO University Partnerships.”
(Answer provided by INTO)
NOTE: The structure of INTO was considered as part of the university’s due diligence procedure.
Is it true INTO have not filed accounts since the inception of the company?
The accounts for the period ended 31/7/06 are finalised and signed, and will be lodged with Companies House on 3/4/08.
(Answer provided by INTO)
Will this cause additional work for GCU staff?
Some GCU staff will help to advise the partnership. However, new jobs will be created to deal with additional workload as the venture expands.
Will INTO have use of GCU services and facilities?
Potentially. However any resources used by the partnership will be paid for by the partnership in the same way as any other organisation would pay to use GCU facilities.
Will support services be outsourced to INTO?
No. GCU discussions with INTO have never covered this.
Is it true 20% of student accommodation will be given over to INTO?
No. The partnership has asked for 100 beds for the summer period only. That will earn the university income at a time when university accommodation would normally be substantially under-used. Beyond September there has been no agreement on where students will go, but there are a number of alternatives under consideration.
Has INTO got office space in the university?
Yes. The partnership has the top floor of the CPD centre for all of its initial activity on a temporary basis. This resource will be recharged to the INTO partnership, not as a direct payment but to offset the university’s contribution to marketing costs for the first three years of the project.
Is it true a phone line 8080 for INTO Scotland is being transferred to a mobile number?
Yes. This is a short-term necessity until the member of staff comes on to campus. The telephone number is currently not commonly used.
Does INTO have a university e-mail address with IT support?
Yes. This is a joint venture partnership.
What impact will this have on our students?
Positive. It will increase diversity within the university and means that new international students will be fully prepared for study on their university courses. It will also bring in new revenue to the university, which will be invested in the campus and in learning and teaching.
Will INTO have first call on facilities?
No, except for the pre-agreed temporary facilities such as the top floor of the CPD.
Are INTO opening an office on campus on Monday 7th April?
A small number of joint venture staff will be working on campus from that date.
Has the contract been signed with INTO?
No. It is due to be signed during the coming month.
Why has there been such secrecy from senior management on this deal?
There has not been undue secrecy although clearly some commercial confidentiality needs to be maintained during negotiations. The international strategy and foundation college venture have been discussed as follows during the past year:
- The international strategy was submitted to Court on May 17 2007 for noting prior to being submitted to Senate for approval in June 2007. Court commended the strategy.
- Consultation undertaken with all schools and widely across the university in advance of approval by Senate on June 29 2007. The proposal to create an international foundation college is mentioned in the targets section of the strategy.
International Foundation College:
- The international foundation college proposal was discussed at Academic Policy Committee on November 21 2007 and Senate on December 14 2007, with Senate highlights being circulated to all staff
- At its meeting on February 12 2008 Financial and General Purposes Committee recommended that the INTO project should be submitted to Court for approval. The project was first discussed at F&GP on June 19 2007.
- Court approved the INTO project at its meeting on February 27 2008. An initial proposal was discussed by Court at its meeting on June 22 2006.
The European Journal tender document for the establishment of an international foundation college was published in October 2007.
Will all INTO-GCAL joint venture staff have the right to join a recognised trade union of their choice? Will the INTO-GCAL joint venture fully recognise these trade unions?
All staff at INTO Scotland will be employed by the joint venture and will be free to join a recognised trade union. Membership of a trade union is a legal right, bound by legislation, and the joint venture will abide by its obligations.
I am concerned that Glasgow Caledonian University is giving INTO 100 beds in the Caledonian Court student accommodation. If that is the case, will GCU still receive 100% of the rent?
The partnership has asked for 100 beds for the summer only. Those beds are available and will earn income at a time when university accommodation would normally be substantially under-used. Beyond September there has been no agreement on where INTO students will go, but there are a number of alternatives under consideration.
I am concerned that Glasgow Caledonian University will give full servicing of the CPD building by IT, AVS, cleaning, portering, security?
The INTO partnership is only using part of the CPD centre on a temporary basis and the centre will continue to be fully serviced during this time. The university will be paid for any services it provides to the INTO joint venture and so will earn additional income from this.
What about access to student services and student union facilities?
The university and students association will provide student services and represent the INTO students. This is important support for the students during their foundation year experience and it also means students will feel part of our university community and be more inclined to come here after their foundation course.
INTO claims that “INTO centres offer students excellent educational environments with fast, effective and assured progression onto university degree courses”. How can entry be “assured” to these students, when they will presumably be competing with other young people for a limited number of places? What if other applicants are better suited and/or better qualified?
The joint partnership is about bringing additional students to our university. No home students will lose a place because of students from the foundation courses. All students gain their place at this university on merit and INTO students will get a place at Caledonian University on full and successful completion of their foundation course.
Who decides who gets the places?
All suitably qualified home students will continue to be offered places until we reach the limits set by the Funding Council. Funding Council caps do not apply to international students. If this results in us reaching capacity then we will increase our capacity.
Will GCU staff be pressured to favour INTO students?
No. Our staff treat all students equally according to their needs and will continue to do so
Why should INTO students choose to come here?
We know that our current international students love their experience of Glasgow Caledonian University and of the city and we are constantly working to improve that experience further. We have no doubt that future international students will feel the same. We were recently rated top for international student experience in the country in the latest International Student Barometer survey, which is a credit to our staff and shows that the investment we have made in services and facilities for all students has been valuable.
INTO claims to have “400 agents representing INTO universities in key countries around the world” but not one of these agents works solely for INTO. All of these agents also work for other companies and institutions trying to recruit foreign students to universities here in the UK, in the USA, Canada, Australasia and in Europe. Why would an “agent” recommend INTO, and in particular INTO-GCU over dozens of other options
INTO develops long lasting relationships of trust with its agents and offers them full knowledge of the proposition to students through familiarisation trips to the partner institutions, excellent literature and marketing support, and efficient back up. INTO also offers excellent specialist service in terms of application, visa support, personal care from enquiry to progression and beyond. These levels of service and sector-leading commission arrangements develop long term trusting relationships based on quality of education and recognised high standards. Many other specialist organisations and universities do not or cannot support their agents to this extent, nor do they have the resource to manage so many points of contact with students.
Will any of Andrew Colin’s credit/debt management companies be given access or accommodation on campus in order to manage INTO (or GCAL) students’ debts?
There is only one such company. Sovereign is not licensed to deal with consumer credit, accordingly, there is no intention of there being any connection between Sovereign and the joint partnership. (Answer supplied by INTO)
Why did Strathclyde University pull out of negotiations with GCU and INTO?
This is a question that would need to be asked directly of Strathclyde University.
INTO as a concern were not named to Senate until after the CUC campaign launch.
“At the time of the December meeting of Senate, the university was in the middle of an EU procurement process and the university did not have a partner at that point. The agreement with INTO had not yet been signed, therefore for reasons of commercial confidentiality it was not appropriate for fuller detail to be supplied to Senate members.” (Extract from Senate minutes of 2/5/08)
Academically, the INTO qualification will be the equivalent of a first-year degree programme. This makes GCU unique amongst the four other INTO projects.
The Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework clearly indicates that Level 1 in Scotland is equivalent to the A-level stage in England and that Level 2 in Scotland is the equivalent of Level 1 in England. The level of the qualification in Scotland, where the joint venture will be the first of its kind, is therefore equivalent to that already offered by the other centres. Glasgow Caledonian University will be in sole control of the quality and standards of the programmes offered by the joint venture.
Even given this unique situation, the foundation certificate seems to have been rushed through.
Due process has been, and will be, followed at all stages in the development process of the foundation certificate.
INTO offer no support for students – thus putting further strain on our already stretched staff and student resources.
Q: The joint venture will employ additional staff to support its students and the university and students association will provide student services and represent the INTO students. This is important support for the students during their foundation year experience and it also means students will feel part of our university community and be more inclined to come here after successful completion of their foundation course.
What is GCU spending to set up the International College?
GCU will invest £150,000 in the operating company and loan up to £350,000 more, to enable it to cover its costs in the early years, whilst student numbers are being built up to its 350 to 500 student capacity. Additionally, GCU will provide services in kind for around £300-400,000. All these investments will be matched pound for pound by INTO.
Why can’t GCU simply set up the International College itself?
We could do so, but it would be too costly given our other priorities and take far too long, in a period when this market is becoming ever more competitive. INTO provides a substantial international marketing network (over 40 people in key markets) as well as new facilities.
What are INTO and its backers spending?
In addition to the investment noted above, INTO will provide funding of around £40 million to fund the construction of the building, as well as around £4M in respect of sales and marketing activities.
Has GCU ‘given away’ the land to construct the college?
No. GCU will recover the full cost of the land and the costs of demolishing Peter McCann House, at the time that the INTO Scotland building is completed.
What are the main financial returns to the University?
In addition to the 50% share of the surplus generated when INTO Scotland is full of students, the University alone will receive all the income from the substantial number of students whom we expect to articulate into GCU courses. This will allow us to fully resource the Schools and professional support departments who will teach and look after our students for years 2 to 4.
Wouldn’t the International College drain schools of international students who already come to GCU?
No, this will target a different student group, namely those with lower English Language. Currently we are not attracting many international undergraduate students directly to GCU and this is expected to be the main cohort for the College – as is already the case at East Anglia, Exeter and Newcastle. In fact, the experience elsewhere is that direct recruitment to the University is likely to significantly increase as a result of an expanded agent network and improved international exposure of GCU as a UK provider of HE.
What happens if INTO Scotland fails for some reason?
There are a varied set of arrangements embedded within the agreements which allow for the unlikely event of failure of the joint venture, depending on the nature of the failure. These enable the University to exit from the arrangement in a manner which protects the interest of the University and minimises any financial or other effects.
How the INTO students psychological needs will be supported may become a significant issue.
I understand there are plans to extend the counselling service over the coming year and hope this will forestall any difficulties. However as things presently stand, I wanted to raise this issue for it is concern.
It is undoubtedly the case that the new INTO students will require considerable pastoral support and this is an issue which our partners in INTO Scotland are both aware of and have practical experience in handling.
INTO are particularly geared towards student counselling and support and will be directly employing individuals to care for their students during their foundation studies. The student support side has so far worked very well for INTO at the University of East Anglia and clearly any lessons learnt from that experience will help shape INTO Scotland. As a responsible partner we will also monitor this situation closely as it is in no one’s interest for this not to work effectively.
In terms of the transition of students from INTO Scotland to Glasgow Caledonian University, it is anticipated that as new international students flow to the University there will be a commensurate increase in the level of counselling and other student support resource at the University to meet their needs. This is something that we need to review regularly, as we wish to maintain our very positive reputation for overall overseas student satisfaction. It is the policy that resources should follow students and this will be the approach taken as our international student population grows at GCU as a result of the INTO Scotland initiative.
As indicated the question, there are plans in place to extend the current counselling service this coming year which will involve additional staffing, but this is to meet the needs of our existing cohort of students and does not include any additional investment which may be necessary in the future to deal with increases in overseas student numbers as a consequence of INTO Scotland.