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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Stony Brook looks to expand into South Korea

    After two years of silence and uncertainty, Stony Brook University has been given the final go ahead to establish a satellite campus in South Korea, putting it on track to becoming the first university from the United States to have a campus in the country.

    Officially called SUNY South Korea, the campus will be located in Songdo, a business district located in the city of Incheon. The city is known for being South Korea’s third most populated city and a center for technological and economic development.

    The university being established there, the Songdo Global University Campus, is described as a “Mecca for global education and research,” which hopes to draw more American universities to its doors.

    However, as of late, the campus has had a difficult time finding support from American universities. Institutions such as the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina dropped their plans to join the Songdo campus because of budget issues, and for a period of time it seemed like Stony Brook would go down the same path.

    It is no secret that Stony Brook has been having money problems; the university has suffered from budget cuts and the closure of a campus much closer than South Korea at Southampton.

    For Kenneth LaValle, a New York state senator and significant supporter of Stony Brook, the wound from the closing of Southampton is still fresh.

    “They just uprooted our students without any notice,” he said, “and I believe the apology that Stanley gave was hollow.”

    When the plans for establishing the satellite campus were made two years ago, Stony Brook proposed having an entire undergraduate program that would support up to 2,000 students with a focus on the sciences and mathematics. But now, the present plans only outline a graduate program with an estimated enrollment of 200. At first glance, this would appear to be a result of Stony Brook’s lack of funds to support the campus, but President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. said this is not the case.

    In his press release about Songdo, Stanley made it clear that the establishment of the campus would not be supported by state money and that the two year silence concerning the campus was a result of making sure the programs being offered would be revenue neutral. SUNY South Korea will be supported by a combination of the out-of-state tuition paid by students, backing by the South Korean government and by funds generated by research.

    However, the South Korean government agreed to cover the costs of operations for only five years. Time will tell if that will be a large enough window for SUNY South Korea to become self-sustainable, as it will have to be if it hopes to survive.

    LaValle said that Stony Brook should keep its priorities straight.

    “Our main focus should be the students here,” he said. “We should make sure you can afford to live here, and not walk away with a lot of loans.”

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