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Two foreign campuses open in Songdo, S Korea

Two foreign universities have opened campuses in South Korea’s Incheon free economic zone (IFEZ), bringing the country’s total number of foreign higher education institutions to four. Some 200 people attended an opening ceremony for Belgium’s Ghent University and the US’s University of Utah this month.

The University of Utah will offer classes in psychology, journalism and social welfare to around 270 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Plans to transform Songdo into an education hub were announced last month, along with the easing of regulations on foreign institutions

Ghent University, one of Belgium’s top-rated higher education institutions, will cater to some 900 domestic and international undergraduate students, before opening a graduate school in 2018, while the University of Utah will offer classes in psychology, journalism and social welfare to around 270 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

“With the two new Songdo campuses of Ghent and Utah universities, we have secured the foundation to develop Songdo into a regional hub for education”

“With the two new Songdo campuses of Ghent and Utah universities, we have secured the foundation to develop Songdo into a regional hub for education,” Kwon Pyong-oh, Deputy Minister for International Trade and Investment, said.

Plans to transform Songdo, near Seoul, into an education hub were announced last month, along with the easing of regulations on foreign universities to make South Korea a more attractive location for branch campuses and foreign-domestic partnerships.

“The government will continue to attract the world’s top universities… while providing active financial and administrative support to those already here,” the minister added.

Earlier this year, University of Utah President David Pershing said that the approval of the new campus by the Korean Ministry of Education was “a pivotal milestone” for the university’s expansion.

“Our participation as a founding institution of this exciting global university allows us to also better fulfill our core mission to serve the people of Utah, by providing a convenient, cost-effective way for Utah students to study in Asia,” he added.

Students attending either of the institutions will have the opportunity to spend part of their course at the university’s main campus and will receive a qualification from the parent school.

Both campuses have brought faculty members across from their main campuses and will use the same admissions campuses as at home.

The newcomers join branch campuses of The State University of New York at Stony Brook, which opened in 2012, and George Mason University, which opened in March this year.

Saint Petersburg State University, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2011 and will teach Physics, Art and Russian, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are set to open campuses in the district in the future, though timelines have yet to be announced.

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