Sussex could open a campus abroad in an effort to deal with budgetary constraints according to Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Argus, the Vice-Chancellor announced the possibility that Sussex could open a second campus in the next 5-10 years, potentially in another country.
The current campus is running near capacity. He said: “In terms of expansion of numbers here, I don’t see we have an option so that means we need to look, if we expand, at how we expand and where we expand, it might be in a different location”.
The number of students being taught at Sussex is set to increase to 20,000 by 2020 with the university making steps to improve and expand facilities and housing on campus.
However, the A27 road on one side and the protected Sussex Downs on the other, constrains how much more Sussex’s campus can grow.
The reason given for the need to expand the numbers of students at Sussex is that the university has to deal with rising fixed costs relative to a stagnant income.
The size of Sussex is small compared to other universities. For example, The University of Birmingham, where the Prof Ticekell was previously the Vice-Principal, is twice the size.
Increasing the number of students would provide the university with a larger source of income. A university spokesperson said: “[The Vice Chancellor is] open to all ideas and is keen to explore what opportunities we may have for working with others as well as how we can make better use of our own space [and he’d] really like people to share their ideas with him as part of the Strategy 2025 discussions and consultation”.
Other avenues for growth could include the use of technology, reducing the need for students to be physically present on campus. The university currently has a £500 million ‘master plan’ that sees Sussex raising the number of Students from its current 14,000 to 18,000 by 2018. This is to partly offset increasing competition in the higher education sector.
Universities could also face challenges to their funding as the UK withdraws itself from the European Union. At the time of publication, the university could not provide figures to state how many students it would need to be completely self sustainable.
The university is planning on holding a consultation on the future of the university through its Strategy 2025 programme, information on which can be found on the university’s website.