A Scottish college is renting out its New York campus for pop up occasions to boost much-needed money.
Glasgow Caledonian College has spent £9.6m on an American offshoot that has struggled to generate income.
Three years after opening, GCU New York remains to be unable to enrol any degree students as a result of it doesn’t but have a licence.
A union convener mentioned the campus needs to be closed. However college administration insisted it should ultimately repay.
In the mean time, Glasgow Caledonian College has monetary issues.
BBC Scotland has realized that it has recorded a deficit of virtually £2.7m for the 2015/16 monetary 12 months – the primary time it has gone into the purple for at the least 9 years.
This determine is anticipated to be confirmed when the college publishes its annual monetary assertion.
It’s understood that it’ll blame a drop within the variety of worldwide college students due to “toughened modifications to the scholar visa regime”.
Within the doc, GCU’s principal and vice-chancellor, Prof Pamela Gillies, is anticipated to explain “a downturn within the attractiveness of the UK as a vacation spot for worldwide college students”.
However union officers at GCU argued this rationalization ignored the tens of millions of kilos spent on the loss-making New York campus.
With out that burden, they believed the college would nonetheless have an general surplus.
‘No public cash’
Union convener at GCU, Dr Nick McKerrell mentioned: “I would like college administration to carry their arms up and say ‘look we made a mistake, this was not a enterprise that was going to succeed.'”
GCU New York is funded by a mortgage from the primary college of which £5.6m had been drawn down by the top of the 2014-15 monetary 12 months.
That determine rose by virtually £4m to £9.6m over 2015-16.
The college has at all times mentioned the challenge is completely funded from its personal assets and never from public cash.
Professor James Miller, deputy vice-chancellor of GCU, informed the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that the college had loved a wholesome stability sheet since 2007.
He mentioned: “Over the previous 9 years Glasgow Caledonian College has made surpluses and that has allowed us to make the investments that we make, not simply in our transnational and worldwide ventures but in addition in relation to the investments that we make right here in Glasgow.
“And the £9.6m that was recognized for New York is dwarfed completely by the £32m that we have now not too long ago spent within the coronary heart of Glasgow campus, that we have undertaken and accomplished, so it’s a little simplistic to counsel that as a result of we’re investing cash in New York that we would not have run this deficit this 12 months.”
Prof Miller insisted that the New York campus would change into a productive funding however acknowledged delays in admitting college students had been irritating.
He added: “In fact we’re barely annoyed at the truth that we do not have our licence but. That sits with the New York State Schooling Division.
“We’re the primary college to have gone by this course of in order that’s why it is in all probability taking longer than we have been initially led to consider was the case. However we proceed to work with the NYSED.”
Within the meantime, the campus in decrease Manhattan is being employed out as a venue to generate some earnings.
Final weekend it was utilized by the mannequin Julia Restoin-Roitfeld for what was publicised as a Le Marche Bleu vacation pop-up store.
It seems to have been designed to advertise a French vodka model.
College flags and logos have been eliminated for the event.
Union convener Dr McKerrell mentioned: “We aren’t a pop-up store, we’re a college of upper schooling. We should not be promoting foie gras, caviar and Champagne to the rich of Manhattan.
“We’re the next schooling establishment. To do such a factor demeans us academically, and I believe we have to have a look at why we have now not bought the licence and the way we will get out of this with out dropping extra money for workers at Glasgow.”
The venue’s website suggests it has beforehand been utilized by Nike and Banana Republic and for an artwork exhibition.
GCU New York has additionally generated some cash by providing brief non-degree programs to companies.
The college sees internationalisation as a key to its future success.
The New York State Schooling Division mentioned “no resolution has been made” on Glasgow Caledonian’s utility for degree-awarding authority.
If such a licence is granted, the college is anticipated to supply specialist programs in style and threat administration.