INTO University Partnerships – Labour Party Private Finance Initiative For Further Education
Every year, INTO helps almost 14,000 students from 150 countries and territories around the world achieve their dream of studying overseas.
Investing more than £46 million annually and working with around 1,000 carefully selected education counsellors, we provide a permanent presence in more than 31 countries around the world.
INTO works together with university partners providing specialist degrees and pathway programmes designed for international students.
Students are guaranteed a great education with INTO, wherever they choose to study.
Our university partners and affiliates are respected worldwide. And they’re dedicated to providing a great student experience.
Who Started the Programme?
The innovative joint venture model emerged from a collaboration in 2005 between then-Vice Chancellor Sir David Eastwood of the University of East Anglia and INTO’s co-founder Andrew Colin.
Sir David’s ambitious plans for internationalization depended on first developing a globally diverse student body, but he recognized that a significant increase in international students was beyond the university’s ability to accomplish alone.
By the same token, he was unwilling to outsource such a critical university goal, so deeply rooted in academic programs, to a commercial entity over which the university had no direct control.
Ultimately, Sir David and Andrew Colin set about designing a partnership in which the university could access private sector investment while retaining critical control over the university’s brand and its academic programs.
The result was the world’s first public-private partnership in higher education predicated on a joint venture model of shared mission, shared investment, shared risk, shared governance, and shared reward.
About the INTO Partnerships
Andrew Colin is the founder/owner of INTO University Partnerships. He provides the leadership and vision which has helped INTO to develop partnerships with leading universities across three continents.
He combines a strong entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for education and international student mobility.
Back in 1981, while studying law at the London School of Economics, he launched his first company – providing Apple-sponsored computer courses for schoolchildren.
In 1990, he founded and directed Study Group, which, under his leadership, became a major force in international pre-university education with centres established throughout the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand.
In 2005, he founded INTO University Partnerships, with the aim of transforming the international student experience and helping leading internationally-focused universities to expand access and improve student mobility.
Since its establishment, INTO has delivered world-class educational experiences to international students through joint venture partnerships with leading universities across the UK, the US and China. (Crunchbase)
01 May 2008: INTO Rejected by the Higher Education Trade Unions
Andrew Colin, unpopular chairman and owner of INTO University Partnerships, the private provider of English-language courses for foreign students, has been accused by the University and College Union of leading the “creeping privatisation” of UK higher education.
INTO’s joint ventures with the universities of East Anglia, Newcastle and Exeter sparked protests and claims that it is undermining terms and conditions.
The Combined Union Committee of Glasgow Caledonian University organised a protest against plans by the university to use INTO to “recruit and teach” international students, claiming “massive support”.
Colin launched a point-by-point defence of his company and set out his plans for ambitious expansion into several other British universities, including Essex, Goldsmiths, Stirling, Queen’s University Belfast and other universities.
He said INTO was countering the “chronic under-investment” in English-language programmes that threatened the UK’s share of the international student market and argued that his vocal critics were motivated by simple ideology.
One key concern of the company’s critics is a lack of financial transparency – illustrated by INTO’s failure to file its accounts on time.
Colin said this was a simple mistake. Accounts for 2006 are now filed, and the next set of accounts, due to be filed in May, will show a £1.7 million loss.
The deficit, which he said was “totally in line with projections”, relates to the cost of maintaining a large international marketing team.
He has personally invested more than £8.5 million in INTO and its subsidiary property companies, £3.7 million of which has gone on marketing. “By our third year, we will be well beyond break-even,” he said.
Colin is also chairman of a property investment and development businesses and critics have also alleged that making money from property is a prime motivation for him.
For each joint venture, INTO has set up a subsidiary to develop a site and lease the building back to the host university.
Mr Colin denies that he expects to make more money out of the estate than student recruitment, maintaining that the union’s opposition is simply ideological.
“I’m an old-fashioned Blairite. I believe that private capital can support public provision, and the UCU is opposed to that ideologically … The union sees Into as a profound threat to higher education structures, but it isn’t meant to be that.”
One UCU member from the University of East Anglia explained that their opposition was to “the idea that the private sector is essentially exploiting public-sector resources”.
Colin said: “I’ve asked for a dialogue with the UCU, but they won’t talk to us. The union causes a lot of anxiety and talk about standards and job losses, they don’t mention the fact that we are creating jobs and that the university is responsible for academic standards.”
On terms and conditions, universities can choose whether to transfer staff to INTO or to keep them in university employment. Colin admits, however, to paying INTO staff less than those in equivalent positions in the university.
“Rates of pay are probably worse,” he said, but he added that INTO compares well with the UK’s private English-language teaching market. INTO is carrying out a study to provide benchmarks for its employees, he said.
At Newcastle University, a UCU spokesman claimed that INTO had fallen short of its teacher recruitment targets, which meant class sizes had gone up from 12 to 16 and that new employees had no experience of teaching academic English.
An INTO spokesman said class size for English was standard at all its centres, with 16 regarded as the optimal size. He added that INTO’s appointments criteria were the same as those for university-based staff.
Although Colin may lack union support, he does have a powerful backer in Sir David Eastwood, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. As vice-chancellor of the UEA, he was a driving force behind the first Into joint venture.
“I’d been helping David Eastwood with an international project at UEA, and he asked whether I would do a joint venture,” Colin said. “We discussed outsourcing, and David said that international recruitment was strategic to the university and that he didn’t want to lose control. We created the 50:50 joint venture so that the university retained control.”
Colin set up INTO in 2005 with the aim of increasing the number of UEA’s 40 “pathway” students to 500 in five years. “We got them in two,” he said.
Now about 70 per cent of students meet the qualification criteria for access to the host institution. “That gives you 1,000 extra international students on campus over three years,” Colin said.
The venture, he said, had also contributed significantly to a 40 per cent increase in direct international recruitment at UEA since 2005.
Colin wants to see 25 INTO centres set up by 2012, about 11 of them in the UK. As well as Glasgow Caledonian and Essex, the company is about to sign a deal with the University of Manchester.
“English-language programmes have suffered from chronic under investment in the UK, compared with Australia,” he said. “We believe the UK will perform poorly in international recruitment if there is no investment in high-quality provision.” (The Times)
INTO Ropes in USA Universities to Lure Foreigners
In July 2008, INTO announced that it had signed its first agreement in the United States, to operate a foundation year programme for Oregon State University.
OSU said that it had long wanted to expand the number of international students, and turned to INTO for its worldwide infrastructure and expertise in recruitment; some staff, on the other hand, expressed concerns over working conditions.
It intends to begin with 150-200 students. The new venture will “replace the English Language Institute, a self-sustaining program that has helped international students learn English for 43 years”, a move that fills its former director with concern.
Spring 2008 INTO – UK University Foundation Courses – Russian Students
Russian high school programs finish a year earlier than those in the UK, which means Russian students looking to do a UK degree course almost always need a need to do a foundation year first.
There are two types of foundation programs. One has its course content validated by a UK university, and successful students are guaranteed a university place.
These offer courses in specialist subjects together with academic English. They employ highly qualified teachers – the English language staff, for example will have at least a diploma.
The other kind does not have validated courses and does not guarantee a university place. At best they offer a good top-up in a specialist subject and/or a solid academic English course.
From 2009, Russian students who wish to study at private institutions will need to enrol in a college accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) or a language school covered by Accreditation UK to obtain a visa.
Unfortunately, the BAC inspects only specialist subjects while Accreditation UK inspects only English-language teaching. Foundation programs should offer both. In addition both schemes accredit courses that don’t guarantee university places as well as those that do.
So how do you choose a good foundation year? By asking some very tough questions.
If you already know which university you want, simply ask the admissions office. The university may run its own foundation program or outsource it to a state college, private college or a language school while guaranteeing degree places to successful students.
In either case, it is important to check what assistance is available if the student fails. “If a student [barely] fails the foundation year, we help them find a place somewhere else,” says Claire Ballard of Reading University’s International Office.
An increasing number of universities have private-sector partners who run foundation programs on the university campus.
Students can enrol direct with these partners and get help choosing a university subsequently. Most of these organizations have formal arrangements with other universities for students who don’t quite make the grade.
INTO is involved in joint ventures with a number of British universities, which means the university remains responsible for academic quality. Again other universities will accept their course.
INTO are also building on-campus centres for their courses which include pre-foundation courses for those whose English is weak through to English-language support for students during their degrees.
Students who haven’t decided on the university to which they wish to apply, could consider a foundation year at an accredited college whose programs are formally accepted by a number of university partners.
Proper validated foundation years are very expensive. Courses without validation are much cheaper. But if no university will accept them, what is the point? (Career Centre RU)
But There is Resistance
Several British universities approached by INTO, including Bristol and Southampton have decided not to link up with INTO.
A survey of staff at Essex University, 90% rejected the proposed partnership for two reasons: that INTO does not recognise unions, and that Colin acknowledges that the hourly rates of pay rates offered are likely to be worse.]
The International Centre for English Language Studies (ICELS) at Oxford Brookes University strongly opposed INTO’s approach, the University College Union (UCU) claimed credit for the opposition influencing the university’s decision). The university stated that it would not go ahead with the project because it required such a large real estate commitment.
In February 2007, the Times Higher Education published an article featuring the UCU’s dispute of guarantees that INTO offered to existing Newcastle staff.
Andrew Colin rejected the UCU criticism, saying in 2007, “Give me three years and I will show you it is possible to create secure, well-paid jobs in EAP, and more of them,” and rejected the similarity of his business model to private finance initiatives (PFI).
Andrew Colin said of the lecturers’ union in 2008, “I’ve asked for a dialogue with the UCU, but they won’t talk to us.
The union causes a lot of anxiety and talk about standards and job losses, they don’t mention the fact that we are creating jobs and that the university is responsible for academic standards.”
In July 2008, INTO threatened UCU with a legal suit for defamation, in response to a union briefing entitled “Into the unknown.” The union removed the document from their website.
March 2013: INTO Cracks the US Equity Market
A US private equity company has paid over $100 million for a 25 per cent stake in Into University Partnerships, valuing the total UK-based international education company at over $400 million, or quarter of a billion pounds.
The sale to New York-based Leeds Equity Partnerships, which invests exclusively in education and knowledge-based industries, is designed to provide INTO’s university partners with access to external capital, according to INTO chairman Andrew Colin, who said he was ‘delighted to confirm that we have secured this significant new funding to support the continued development of public-private partnerships’.
Unlike other global pathway programmes, INTO operates a joint venture model with partner universities in the UK, US and Asia, benefiting from international student fee income on pre-university programmes and retaining control over academic standards and branding.
Sources at INTO said the money would be used to increase market presence, particularly in the US, where international students make up only 4 per cent of total enrolments compared to some 14 per cent in the UK and 20 per cent in Australia.
Funding will also focus on regional education hubs and Transnational Education programmes, in which English-medium universities deliver programmes in the students’ own country.
The INTO group, which was founded only six years ago, turned over a quarter of a billion dollars (£160 million) in the last financial year and has an infrastructure portfolio with a current investment value of over $300 million.
Jeffrey T Leeds, co-founder and president of the US company, said, ‘We are excited about partnering with such an exceptional team. Andrew Colin, John Sykes and Steve Sale have built a successful, impactful business.’
The Leeds–INTO deal sees Andrew Colin teamed up with Colin Powell, former US secretary of state and chair of the Leeds board of advisers. Other members of the board include two former US secretaries of education: Richard R Riley, who served under Bill Clinton, and Roderick R Paiger, who served under George W Bush.
Private equity firms have taken an increasing interest in the international sector.
The Carlyle Group acquired the Aspect chain of language schools from US education company Laureate before selling it on to Kaplan, part of the Washington Post group of companies.
Study Group, founded by Andrew Colin in the early 1990s, was acquired by Providence Equity from Australian private equity firm CHAMP and Petersen Investment in 2010 for $660 million. (elgazette.com)
2 Apr 2014: University of Stirling and INTO launch major internationalisation partnership
The centres will provide a range of academic and English language preparation courses for international students, with teaching due to begin in September 2014.
Programmes on offer at the Stirling campus include General English, Academic English, International Foundation, International Diploma and International Graduate Diploma courses, together with pre-sessional and in-sessional support.
Students who successfully complete the preparation courses will be able to progress to undergraduate or postgraduate degree programmes at the University of Stirling.
Agreements already signed with affiliate partner institutions in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland will offer students additional options for progression.
Students at INTO Stirling will have full access to all of the University’s academic and support services as well as the full range of sporting and social facilities.
The London centre will offer a range of Master’s degrees in Business and Management, Finance and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) in addition to a wide range of English Language courses.
The London centre will also provide validation services for Master’s degrees offered by the London Academy of Diplomacy.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “INTO shares the University of Stirling’s commitment to high quality education.
The partnership will achieve a step change across the University in relation to our international student experience.”
He added: “The new London base for the University of Stirling will provide students with internationally recognised degrees in the heart of one of the world’s most important financial, cultural and political centres.” (What base? It is shut! and Professor Mifsud cannot be located).
Andrew Colin, Chairman of INTO University Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to enter into partnership with such an ambitious and innovative university.
Scottish higher education has helped shape the world for centuries – and with this venture we look forward to helping the University of Stirling extend its global impact in the century ahead.”
“Our partnerships in the UK have helped to re-define the international student experience, enrolling almost 40,000 students and delivering truly world-class experiences. We are proud to work with a University who shares this commitment to extend opportunities for life-changing higher education to students from around the world.”
17 Nov 2017: Trump/Russia Affair – The Mysterious ‘Professor’ and His 37,000 shares in INTO
Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese “professor” who liaised between the Russians and Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, had fingers in many pies…….so many that it’s difficult to be sure what his real job was.
When he went into hiding earlier this month, Mifsud was a “professorial teaching fellow” (whatever that means) at the University of Stirling, had a vaguely-defined role at Link Campus University in Italy and was a “board adviser” at the London Centre of International Law and Practice Limited (LCILP).
According to a document released by the US Department of Justice, Mifsud and Papadopoulos first came into contact during a three-month period early in 2016 when Papadopoulos was also working at LCILP.
In addition, Mifsud was director of the London Academy of Diplomacy for several years before it was quietly shut down in 2016, in circumstances which have yet to be explained.
Now, however, yet another of his many roles has come to light. In 2013, Mifsud was reported to be working as “consultant” for a company called INTO University Partnerships.
But his involvement with INTO may go further than that: company records currently show someone named “J Mifsud” as owning 37,000 shares in the business [see “confirmation statement”, 27 July 2017]. (al-bab.com)