Do satellite campuses contribute to the access of higher education in Europe?
Previous work based on ETER data has demonstrated that higher education is available in most of the European territory, with four out of five people living within a 45-minute drive of the main campus of at least one HEI (see the ETER news). In this newsletter, we add to the previous analysis by including further data on accessibility to satellite campuses, i.e. those campuses located at another place than the main site of the HEI.
Satellite campuses have become an important dimension of higher education in Europe. Some satellite campuses are the outcome of mergers of regional institutions into larger colleges; others are related to strategies of territorial diversification by large universities. A third type are national HEIs having satellites in most regions in their country.
ETER now provides information on satellite campuses located in different regions than the main location of the parent institution using the EUROSTAT NUTS3-level classification. In the academic year 2015/2016, one out of every five HEIs in ETER had a satellite campus in another region. In three countries, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands, which have undergone extensive consolidation processes in higher education, more than one-third of the HEIs have satellite campuses. The increase in regional coverage is substantial, as 250 NUTS3 regions (out of 1,551) are served only by such satellite campuses. These regions host nearly 58 mio. inhabitants, i.e. about 10% of the European population, and the regional coverage of higher education, therefore, increases from 58% to 74% (number of regions; see Figure 1) and from 79% to 88% (of the population) when taking into account satellite campuses.
This new data in ETER shows that satellite campuses are a national phenomenon in Europe. Only few private HEIs have satellite campuses in other European countries, while a handful of research universities have campuses overseas, like ETH Zurich and TU Munich in Singapore, the London Business School in Dubai and the University of West London in Hong Kong. These data exclude independent HEIs funded with the support of a foreign institution, like many colleges in Cyprus, which have been founded by UK universities and keep strong linkages with them.
Even if it is not possible to break down statistical data presented in ETER by campus, since National Statistical Authorities collect data only by institution, this data provides rich information for a fine-grained analysis of the regional coverage of higher education.
Figure 1.Map of European regions with at least one main HEI or one satellite campus
The map is affected by the different size of NUTS3 regions by country, particularly in Germany many NUTS3 regions are small and exclude cities, hence the seemingly low territorial coverage.

ETER variables
The following variables are included in ETER. For the main seat of the institution:
  • The region of establishment at NUTS2 and NUTS3 level (using NUTS-2016 EUROSTAT classification;
  • The name of the city and its postcode.
  • The geographical coordinates of the main seat (longitude and latitude).
  • A dummy variable to identify multi-site HEIs (0=single site; 1= multisite).
For the satellite campuses in other NUTS3 regions:
  • The region of establishment at NUTS3 level.
  • The name of the city and its postcode.
  • The geographical coordinates of the main seat (longitude and latitude).
When there are more than one satellite campus, the corresponding entries are separated by ‘;’ (for example “Alst; Antwerpen; Brugge” for KU Leuven). The same information is also available in a tabular form from the organizational register managed by the Horizon 2020 project RISIS (link).
This data has been mostly retrieved from the organizational websites of the HEIs and, whenever possible, checked with official lists maintained by National Statistical Authorities or Higher Education ministries. Coverage is nearly 100% of the HEIs in ETER.
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The opinions expressed in this message are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission
Copyright © European Tertiary Education Register, Università della Svizzera italiana,  Lugano, Switzerland.

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European Tertiary Education Register · Università della Svizzera italiana · Lugano 6900 · Switzerland

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