UNSW to pay back $22.4 million for S’pore campus failure

Martha Ann Overland
The Chronicle of Higher Education
14 Dec 07

Australian university to pay back $22.4-Million for Singapore campus failure

The first foreign university to open a stand-alone private campus in Singapore — and the first one to close — has agreed to repay the Singaporean government for the loans and grants it received, The Straits Times reported on Tuesday.

According to the pro-government publication, the University of New South Wales, an Australian institution, signed a “settlement agreement in respect of all outstanding loans and grants payable to the Singapore government.”

The Economic Development Board, which has been behind the push to make the country a global education hub by offering generous incentives to foreign universities to set up programs in Singapore, did not reveal the amount to be repaid.

The Straits Times, however, reported that the university had agreed to repay the Singaporean government the entire $22.4-million (in U.S. dollars) it had received in loans and grants.

The Australian university closed its doors in June, just months after its grand opening. Administrators cited financial risk to the main institution in Sydney as the reason for pulling out of the deal after the Singaporean campus attracted fewer than half the 300 students it anticipated.

The announcement in May took students and professors by surprise, angering many. The university promised students positions at the home campus, but there were widespread complaints from those who said that the added costs of studying in Sydney would mean they would be unable to continue their education

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