UoW goes for more growth offshore

As the Commonwealth cracks down on bodgy student arrivals, the University of Wollongong plans to go where students already are. But it will need a new sports hero.

Uni Wollongong has the nod from the Saudi Ministries of Education and Investment to plan a branch campus in the Kingdom, being granted an investment licence, which only became available under a 2023 policy. It’s a JV with local provider, Digital Knowledge Company.

If it happens, it will be UoW’s second Middle East venture, joining the now 30 year-old campus in Dubai.

The Dubai campus teaches business, ICT, engineering and digital media courses.  The most recent annual report records flat revenue, however Dubai is the university’s biggest source of off-shore income, A$43.3m in 2022, followed by Malaysia at A$25.6.

The Saudi announcement follows the University becoming the second off-shore university to win approval to set up a campus in India, being beaten by what looks like days by Deakin U. The new India campus will start teaching IT and finance this year.

UoW is the biggest international operator among the public universities in NSW, with eight controlled entities offshore, ahead of UNSW (seven) and UTS (five), with 7000 offshore students, compared to 25,000 in Australia.

The Saudi announcement comes as the Commonwealth cracks down on student visa applications to prevent international arrival using study as a cover for fulltime work which makes the case for expanding in markets where there are academically qualified students, rather than competing for internationals in Australia.

As Dubai demonstrates, UoW has long got this. And as the new India campus shows, the University has always had the commitment to play a very long  game in market building. For years, Test batter Adam Gilchrist (plus six seasons in the India Premier League) has been the University’s brand to India. It is an inspired strategy – Gilly is known way more than the Gong.

Now all UoW needs to do is find an equivalent sports star for soccer-playing Saudi.



Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Subscribe to us to always stay in touch with us and get latest news, insights, jobs and events!