A satellite campus, branch campus or regional campus is a campus of a university or college that is physically at a distance from the original university or college area. This branch campus may be located in a different city, state, or country, and is often smaller than the main campus of an institution. The separate campuses may or may not be under the same accreditation and share resources or they share administrations but maintain separate budgets, resources, and other governing bodies.

In many cases, satellite campuses are "commuter campuses" that are intended to serve students who cannot travel far from home for college because of family responsibilities, their jobs, financial limitations, or other factors. Often times, the students live at their family homes instead of near campus, commuting to college courses throughout the week. The availability of branch campuses may increase higher education enrollment by nontraditional students.[1]

Electronic communications technology has helped to facilitate the operation of satellite campuses. Classes taught at one campus can be transmitted to other locations via distance education, students at branch campuses can access library materials on the main campus electronically, and technology allows institutions to administer registration, admissions, and financial aid transactions remotely.[1]

One growing trend is the establishment of international branch campuses.[2] These are satellite campuses of a parent institution that is located outside the country where the satellite campus is located. The number of international branch campuses worldwide grew from 35 before 1999 to 162 in 2009, including 78 branches operated by United States universities.[3] As of 2009, the United Arab Emirates was the host of 40 international branch campuses, more than any other nation.[3] There were 15 international branch campuses in China, 12 in Singapore, nine in Qatar, and six in Canada.[3] In addition to the United States, the home countries of institutions with international branches include Australia, whose universities operated a total of 14 international branches; the United Kingdom, with 13 international branches; and France and India, each of whose universities had a total of 11 international branches.[3] Although the overall number of international branch campuses has grown rapidly, a total of 11 such campuses closed between 2004 and 2009.[4] A new breed of branch campuses of Indian universities in the Persian Gulf region is emerging which aims to meet South Asians' aspirations to study abroad in a cost-efficient manner.[5]

There are several regional satellite or branch campus consortia but only one national association in the United States. The National Association of Branch Campus Administrators, NABCA seeks to unify higher education officials, working to advance scholarship, provide research opportunities, and facilitate networking events, both online and at a national conference each year.[6]


Universities in Castile-La Mancha, showing branch campuses (all UNED centres are branches of the Madrid central campus).

Uses outside higher education

Pre-tertiary education

The Farm School in Tennessee allows homeschooling families to affiliate with it through a "Satellite Campuses" program. This program enables homeschooled children to be enrolled in a state-recognized school that is not affiliated with any religious denomination.[20]

Religious organisations

Main article: Multi-site church

Churches attempting to expand their reach by offering worship and other programs in new locations may refer to these added locations as "satellite campuses."[21] Some megachurches have increased their number of parishioners and extended their geographic reach by opening new locations that are referred to as "satellite campuses."[22][23][24] A satellite church campus may use video technology to connect to the church's main location.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d James W. Fonseca and Charles P. Bird, Under the Radar: Branch Campuses Take Off, University Business magazine, October 2007
  2. ^ Rosa Becker, International Branch Campuses: Markets and Strategies, The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, January 9, 2009
  3. ^ a b c d International Campuses on the Rise, InsideHigherEd, September 3, 2009
  4. ^ a b Throwing in the Towel, InsideHigherEd, July 7, 2010
  5. ^ "The New Wave of Branch Campuses". DrEducation.com. 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-09-06.
  6. ^ "About NABCA | NABCA". Archived from the original on 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  7. ^ "Brigham Young University". BYU Home Site. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  8. ^ "Brigham Young University–Hawaii". BYU–Hawaii Home Site. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  9. ^ "Brigham Young University - Idaho". byui.edu. Archived from the original on 2020-06-17. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  10. ^ "'Inspiring' community in a crowded school", University of Waterloo Daily Bulletin, July 13, 2004.
  11. ^ "School of Architecture get federal funds". University of Waterloo. May 31, 2002. Archived from the original on Jun 5, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Alexander, Chiejina (12 October 2009). "Reassessing the value of satellite campuses". Business Day. Archived from the original on Feb 11, 2010.
  13. ^ "Campuses". The University of Nottingham. Archived from the original on Feb 1, 2024.
  14. ^ "A blend of culture, science/technology and internationalization: The Kitakyushu Science and Research Park". IGES Publications. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  15. ^ "University of Southampton Malaysia". University of Southampton. Archived from the original on Nov 30, 2022.
  16. ^ Fischer, Karin (October 14, 2012). "Truly Global Campuses". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on Jan 4, 2019.
  17. ^ "Webster University to Build Campus in Ghana". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  18. ^ "Northumbria University heads south to get the London look". Independent.co.uk. 7 January 2010.
  19. ^ "Locations | CSCC". www.cscc.edu. Retrieved 2023-07-26.
  20. ^ Satellite Campuses Program Archived 2010-11-27 at the Wayback Machine, The Farm School, accessed July 24, 2010
  21. ^ Mary Jacobs, Reaching new orbits: Satellite campuses extend outreach, United Methodist Reporter, September 25, 2009
  22. ^ a b Jennifer Ludden, Big Churches Use Technology to Branch Out, National Public Radio: All Things Considered, August 7, 2005
  23. ^ Melissa Nann Burke, Lancaster County megachurch expands into York County; LCBC will open a campus in Springettsbury Township, and says it may ultimately draw 3,000 people Archived 2015-02-26 at the Wayback Machine, York (Pennsylvania) Daily Record, July 18, 2010. Accessed July 24, 2010.
  24. ^ Kimberly Pina, Woodlands Church starts Katy campus, Ultimate Katy website (operated by Houston Chronicle), February 8, 2010

Further reading