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Satellite campus

A satellite campus or branch campus is a campus of a college or university that is physically at a distance from the original university or college area. This branch campus may be located in a different city, state, or country, and is often smaller than the main campus of an institution. The separate campuses may be under the same accreditation and share resources or they share administrations but maintain separate budgets, resources, and other governing bodies.

In many cases, satellite campuses are intended to serve students who cannot travel far from home for college because of family responsibilities, their jobs, financial limitations, or other factors. The availability of branch campuses may increase higher education enrollment by nontraditional students.[1]

Electronic communications technology has helped to facilitate the operation of satellite campuses. Classes taught at one campus can be transmitted to other locations via distance education, students at branch campuses can access library materials on the main campus electronically, and technology allows institutions to administer registration, admissions, and financial aid transactions remotely.[1]

One growing trend is the establishment of international branch campuses.[2] These are satellite campuses of a parent institution that is located outside the country where the satellite campus is located. The number of international branch campuses worldwide grew from 35 before 1999 to 162 in 2009, including 78 branches operated by United States universities.[3] As of 2009, the United Arab Emirates was the host of 40 international branch campuses, more than any other nation.[3] There were 15 international branch campuses in China, 12 in Singapore, nine in Qatar, and six in Canada.[3] In addition to the United States, the home countries of institutions with international branches included Australia, whose universities operated a total of 14 international branches; the United Kingdom, with 13 international branches; and France and India, each of whose universities had a total of 11 international branches.[3] Although the overall number of international branch campuses has grown rapidly, a total of 11 such campuses closed between 2004 and 2009.[4] A new breed of branch campuses of Indian universities in the Gulf is emerging which aims to meet South Asians' aspirations to study abroad in a cost-efficient manner.[5]

There are several regional satellite or branch campus consortia but only one national association in the United States. The National Association of Branch Campus Administrators, NABCA seeks to unify higher education officials, working to advance scholarship, provide research opportunities, and facilitate networking events, both online and at a national conference each year. [6]


  • Examples 1
  • Uses outside higher education 2
    • Pre-tertiary education 2.1
    • Religious organisations 2.2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4


Universities in Castile-La Mancha, showing branch campuses (all UNED centres are branches of the Madrid central campus).

Uses outside higher education

Pre-tertiary education

The Farm School in Tennessee allows homeschooling families to affiliate with it through a "Satellite Campuses" program. This program enables homeschooled children to be enrolled in a state-recognized school that is not affiliated with any religious denomination.[16]

Religious organisations

Churches attempting to expand their reach by offering worship and other programs in new locations may refer to these added locations as "satellite campuses."[17] Some megachurches have increased their number of parishioners and extended their geographic reach by opening new locations that are referred to as "satellite campuses."[18][19][20] A satellite church campus may use video technology to connect to the church's main location.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d James W. Fonseca and Charles P. Bird, Under the Radar: Branch Campuses Take Off, University Business magazine, October 2007
  2. ^ Rosa Becker, Branch Campuses: Markets and Strategies, The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, January 9, 2009
  3. ^ a b c d International Campuses on the Rise, InsideHigherEd, September 3, 2009
  4. ^ a b Throwing in the Towel, InsideHigherEd, July 7, 2010
  5. ^ "The New Wave of Branch Campuses". 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ 'Inspiring' community in a crowded school, University of Waterloo Daily Bulletin, July 13, 2004
  8. ^ School of Architecture get federal funds, University of Waterloo news release, May 31, 2002
  9. ^ a b Alexander Chiejina, Reassessing the value of satellite campuses, Business Day (Nigeria), Monday, 12 October 2009
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Satellite Campuses Program, The Farm School, accessed July 24, 2010
  17. ^ Mary Jacobs, Reaching new orbits: Satellite campuses extend outreach, United Methodist Reporter, September 25, 2009
  18. ^ a b Jennifer Ludden, Big Churches Use Technology to Branch Out, National Public Radio: All Things Considered, August 7, 2005
  19. ^ Melissa Nann Burke, Lancaster County megachurch expands into York County; LCBC will open a campus in Springettsbury Township, and says it may ultimately draw 3,000 people, York (Pennsylvania) Daily Record, July 18, 2010. Accessed July 24, 2010.
  20. ^ Kimberly Pina, Woodlands Church starts Katy campus, Ultimate Katy website (operated by Houston Chronicle), February 8, 2010

Further reading

  • Samuel Schuman, ed. (2009). Leading America's Branch Campuses. American Council on Education series on higher education. R&L Education.  
  • Asa Smallidge Knowles, ed. (1977). "branch campuses". International encyclopedia of higher education. 3 (B–C). Jossey-Bass Publishers. pp. 658 et seq.  
  • Kemal Gürüz (2008). Higher education and international student mobility in the global knowledge economy. SUNY Press. pp. 105 et seq.  
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