INTO University Partnerships

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INTO University Partnerships
Industry Education
Founded 2005
Founder Andrew Colin
Headquarters Brighton, San Diego
Website INTO University Partnerships

INTO University Partnerships is a British limited liability partnership that specialises in setting up joint ventures with universities. It focuses on the provision of foundation courses for international students, including English language, especially English for Academic Purposes. So far INTO has launched 21 international study centres with 20 leading university partners in the United Kingdom, North America and China. The centres offer courses that enable students to prepare for university degrees, learn English, or study at postgraduate level.


INTO University Partnerships was founded in 2005 and is chaired by Andrew Colin, who had previously set up Study Group International, an education business he sold to the Daily Mail Group, and Embassy CES, a chain of language schools. Since 2006, INTO has launched 20 joint ventures with a range of universities in the United Kingdom, North America and China.

Under the joint venture model, the university remains responsible for educational quality,[1] while INTO provides the marketing infrastructure, finance and specialist management experience. This business model was developed in a political climate that favours public-private partnerships. Bill Rammell, Minister of State in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, in response to a question from Colchester MP Bob Russell, welcomed such innovation in higher education.[2]

In October 2008, INTO opened a £35 million six-storey building at INTO UEA, with 415 en-suite study-bedrooms and classroom space for 600 students.[3] New buildings also opened in Exeter in 2011 and Newcastle in September 2012. INTO Newcastle University, built at a cost of £74million, was launched alongside on-campus student accommodation, the first in the university's history.

In early 2013, INTO University Partnerships announced an equity investment[4] from Leeds Equity Partners of £66m in the group for a 25 per cent stake in the business. This investment completed the first stage of INTO’s funding plans, which are aimed at providing universities with access to significant external capital to fund innovation and capacity building in the higher education sector.

International study centres[edit]

UK partners[5]

Additionally, it is an international foundation partner for the:

US partners
Chinese partners

Global recruitment[edit]

Through five greater regional directorates, INTO employs over 100 full-time market-based staff in 31 offices across 17 countries and invests £4 million each year in training, monitoring and performance-managing its counseling organizations. In 2011, INTO conducted more than 300 training sessions with 600 organisations, including large-scale familiarisation trips to launch new partnerships. All recruitment activity is planned centrally, but coordinated through university-based joint venture groups.


At the 2011 Education Investor Awards, INTO, took the Exporting Excellence award for its contribution to international education. It also won the Higher Education Provider of the Year.

Organisational development[edit]

In INTO's first three years, the company created 435 new jobs[citation needed]. They currently have around 1,350 members of staff across the group.[citation needed]

Future plans[edit]

In their submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee on student visas in 2011, INTO said it had "welcomed and educated almost 21,000 students from more than 138 countries and territories to the UK and provide direct employment for close to 1,350 people in the UK alone".[15] Commencements at INTO study centres have now surpassed 41,000 with an average of 90% student satisfaction.

INTO has been in preliminary discussion with several other British universities, the majority of which have decided not to form a partnership, including Essex, Goldsmiths and Westminster. Essex elected to restructure its own international operations, and Goldsmiths to suspend its internationalisation plans.[16] In contrast, the Senate of Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, voted in favour of an INTO partnership in April 2009, which led to the setting-up of INTO Queen's University of Belfast.

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. The programme was due to start in autumn 2009.[17] It intends to begin with 150–200 students. A local news source, OregonLive, states that 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.[18] The Provost of OSU, Sabah Randhawa, who has led the university's transformational development, expressed satisfaction with the partnership.[19]

As of February 2013, INTO has established partnerships with 18 universities across the UK, North America and China and plans to increase its network to 30 partnerships by 2020 according to its 2011–15 strategy.

Opposition from lecturers and conflict with UCU[edit]

Several British universities have been approached by INTO and the majority have decided not to proceed. The University and College Union (UCU) claims credit in cases where initial discussions have not progressed, whereas the institutions have not publicly cited staff opposition.[citation needed] UCU has consistently opposed INTO's expansion into higher education, claiming that in every case where staff were consulted, they rejected INTO.[citation needed] For example, in a survey of staff at Essex, 90% rejected the proposed partnership.[20] This objection is compounded by two things: that INTO does not recognise unions, and that Andrew Colin acknowledges that the rates offered are likely to be worse.[21]

The International Centre for English Language Studies (ICELS) at Oxford Brookes University strongly opposed INTO's approach,[22] and the UCU claimed credit for this 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.[23] The University of Essex, following questions from UCU,[24] explained the benefits of working with INTO,[25] but in October 2008 decided not to enter a partnership.[25]

In February 2007, the Times Higher Education published an article featuring the UCU's dispute of guarantees that INTO offered to existing Newcastle staff.[26] 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).[27]

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."[28]

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.[29]

INTO Giving[edit]

INTO supports its own charity, which is dedicated to “providing and improving the education of young people around the world living in impoverished or difficult circumstances.”[30] Projects supported include a school in China, a children’s centre in Zambia and training for teachers in Gambia.[31] The projects are delivered by third party charities.[32]

Students, staff and local communities are encouraged to raise money for the projects through activities such as sponsored sports events,[33] comedy nights,[34] food festivals[35] and charity auctions.[36][37] Between 2008 and 2010 the charity donated £58,054 to the projects it supported.[30]

Accounts question[edit]

INTO reached the parliamentary record when MP Austin Mitchell asked why it had not filed financial records with Companies House,[38] as it is legally obliged to do. Andrew Colin said in the Times Higher Education that the delay in submitting accounts was a "simple mistake".[39] He also revealed that the first set of submitted accounts showed a loss of £1.7m, but stated that the company would be beyond the break-even point by the third year.


According to the Civil Aviation Authority's database on registered civil aircraft, a subsidiary, INTO Air, has, in the past, featured a registered Swiss-built Pilatus PC-12 turbo-prop aircraft, with registration G-INTO.[40] An article in General Aviation magazine quoted the cost of these aircraft as starting at $4m and states that Andrew Colin ordered a second aircraft for delivery in 2010.

.[41] Colin credits the first corporate plane, which he had had for only a few months at the time of the interview, with transforming the way he and his UK team did business, removing much of the strain of travel. “In one week we attended meetings in Glasgow and Newcastle on the Monday, Oxford and London on the Tuesday, Exeter and Birmingham on the Wednesday, Glasgow again on the Thursday and Norwich on the Friday.".[41] The registration of the plane has since been removed from the CAA database.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 07 July 2008 (pt 0053)". Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "INTO announces major investment by leading US equity firm". INTO Corporate website. 15 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Our UK study Centres : INTO UK". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  6. ^ "INTO signs new partnership with St George's, University of London". INTO Corporate website. 18 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "University of Gloucestershire and INTO agree joint venture partnership". INTO Corporate website. 21 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "University of Stirling and INTO launch major internationalisation partnership". INTO Corporate website. 2 April 2014. 
  9. ^ [3][dead link]
  10. ^ INTO University Partnerships. "Progression at INTO London : INTO UK". INTO University Partnerships. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "INTO signs new partnership with Colorado State University". INTO Corporate website. 10 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "INTO North America announces new US university partner". INTO Corporate website. 15 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "George Mason University and INTO University Partnerships Announce Joint Venture to Build International Student Programs". INTO Corporate website. 26 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Drew and INTO University Partnerships Form Joint Venture to Enrich International Learning Experience". INTO Corporate website. 17 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Written evidence submitted by INTO University Partnerships (SV27) Home Affairs Select Committee - Additional Written Evidence, Student visas, 15 March 2011, accessed 5 September 2011
  16. ^ Lipsett, Anthea (30 July 2008). "Language trainer Into threatens to sue university union". The Guardian (London). 
  17. ^ Lewin, Tamar (8 August 2008). "College and Company Link Up to Lure Foreigners". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ "Oregon State University and a British company court international students - and controversy". 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  19. ^ "NAFSA: Association of International Educators". Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  20. ^ 90% of Essex University staff oppose privatisation plan press release University and College Union 20 June 2008, accessed 5 September 2011
  21. ^ [4][dead link]
  22. ^ [5][dead link]
  23. ^ Andalo, Debbie (30 March 2007). "University drops English privatisation plans". The Guardian (London). 
  24. ^ [6][dead link]
  25. ^ a b [7][dead link]
  26. ^ “Hive-off row” Times Higher Education Supplement 9 Feb 2007
  27. ^ English Language Gazette "Profiteer or prophet?" interview by Melanie Butler, August 2007, available from the media page
  28. ^ "Into founder says his private capital supports public work" "Times Higher Education Supplement" 1 May 2008
  29. ^ Lipsett, Anthea (30 July 2008). "Language trainer Into threatens to sue university union". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  30. ^ a b Record for INTO Giving LTD Charity Commission for England and Wales accessed 5 September 2011
  31. ^ [8][dead link]
  32. ^ Report of the trustees for the period 4 September 2008 to 30 September 2009 Charity Commission for England and Wales page 3, accessed 5 September 2011
  33. ^ "INTO Giving - Brighton Marathon 2011". 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  34. ^ [9][dead link]
  35. ^ "INTO Manchester: International Food Festival for INTO Giving Charity". 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  36. ^ [10][dead link]
  37. ^ INTO - Giving Charity Art Auction Exhibition The Forum, Norwich website 1 September 2011, accessed 5 September 2011
  38. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 05 Mar 2008 (pt 0041)". Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  39. ^ Times Higher Education "Into founder says his private capital supports public work"
  40. ^ "GINFO Database Search | Aircraft Register | Operations and Safety". Retrieved 2015-07-02. 
  41. ^ a b General Aviation August 2007, p21. "PC-12s gang up at Goodwood"

External links[edit]