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 specializes 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 operates 22 international study centres within 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. A research report commissioned by NAFSA: Association of International Educators identified INTO University Partnerships as one of the eight third-party providers offerings pathway programs for international students in the United States[1].


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 23 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,[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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[5] from Leeds Equity Partners of £66m in the group for a 25 percent 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. Two years later, INTO's first partnership with the University of East Anglia, INTO University of East Anglia won a Queen's Award for Enterprise (International Trade) [6] in April 2016. INTO also formed a new partnership with Washington State University in the same year.

International study centres

UK partners[7]

Additionally, it is an international foundation partner for the:

US partners
Chinese partners

Global recruitment

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. Every year, INTO helps almost 14,000 students from 120 countries and territories achieve their dream of studying overseas. 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.


  • 2011 - Education Investor Awards: Exporting Excellence Award (for its contribution to international education)
  • 2011 - Education Investor Awards: Higher Education Provider the Year.
  • 2013 - Education Investor Awards: Runner-up in Education Business of the Year.
  • 2016 - Queen's Award: Enterprise (International Trade) for INTO's first partnership, INTO University of East Anglia[21]

Organisational development

In INTO's first three years, the company created 435 new jobs.[citation needed] They currently have around 1,800 members of staff across the group who speak over 20 languages.[citation needed]

Future plans

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".[22] 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.[23] 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 [24] with 150–200 students. A local news source, OregonLive, stated that the new venture would "replace the English Language Institute, a self-sustaining program that has helped international students learn English for 43 years," a move that filled its former director with concern.[25] The Provost of OSU, Sabah Randhawa, who has led the university's transformational development, expressed satisfaction with the partnership.[26]

As of April 2017, INTO has established partnerships with 23 universities across the UK, North America and China and plans to increase its network to 30 partnerships by 2020.

In May 2018, it was reported that owner and founder Andrew Colin is seeking a buyer for his INTO University Partnerships. He is seeking to sell INTO for $400.1 million USD, and has hired Deutche Bank to look at strategic options after receiving a number of takeover approaches. Andrew Colin is the majority shareholder of INTO, with the remainder in the hands of senior staff and Leeds Equity Partners (25% stake). [27]

Opposition from lecturers and conflict with UCU

Several British universities have been approached by INTO and some have decided not to proceed. For example, in a survey of staff at Essex, 90% rejected the proposed partnership.[28] 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.[29]

The International Centre for English Language Studies (ICELS) at Oxford Brookes University strongly opposed INTO's approach,[30] and the University and College Union 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.[31] The University of Essex, following questions from UCU,[32] explained the benefits of working with INTO,[33] but in October 2008 decided not to enter a partnership.[33]

In February 2007, the Times Higher Education published an article featuring the UCU's dispute of guarantees that INTO offered to existing Newcastle staff.[34] 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).[35]

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."[36]

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.[37]

INTO Giving

Since 2008, INTO Giving has raised more than US $1,000,000 (UK £770,000) for children’s education and teachers in Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Europe. Funds are raised through INTO student, faculty and employee fundraising events and donations, and are matched penny for penny by INTO Founder and INTO Giving Trustee Andrew Colin.

INTO Giving has helped thousands of children and their teachers through 30 projects in 20 countries across five continents. The charity’s projects have included building new and refurbishing rundown schools (Cambodia, China, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, and in Lebanon for Syrian refugee children), psychological counselling services for Syrian refugee children, opening IT centres and libraries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zambia), providing school meals and classroom supplies (Thailand) and refurbishing teacher accommodation (Ghana).

Since 2016, INTO Giving has prioritized supporting girls’ education and refugee schoolchildren.

INTO Giving is UK registered charity No 1126262, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity in the US and is governed by a Board of Trustees.

Accounts question

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


  1. ^ "NAFSA research on landscape of third-party pathway partnerships in the US". Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  2. ^ [1] Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 07 July 2008 (pt 0053)". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ "INTO announces major investment by leading US equity firm". INTO Corporate website. 15 January 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Our UK study Centres : INTO UK". Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  8. ^ "University of Gloucestershire and INTO agree joint venture partnership". INTO Corporate website. 21 February 2013.
  9. ^ "University of Stirling and INTO launch major internationalisation partnership". INTO Corporate website. 2 April 2014.
  10. ^ [3] Archived January 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ INTO University Partnerships. "Progression at INTO London : INTO UK". INTO University Partnerships. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  12. ^ "INTO signs new partnership with Colorado State University". INTO Corporate website. 10 February 2012.
  13. ^ "INTO North America announces new US university partner". INTO Corporate website. 15 November 2012.
  14. ^ "George Mason University and INTO University Partnerships Announce Joint Venture to Build International Student Programs". INTO Corporate website. 26 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Drew and INTO University Partnerships Form Joint Venture to Enrich International Learning Experience". INTO Corporate website. 17 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Saint Louis University, INTO University Partnerships Sign Agreement That Will Bring New International Students To St. Louis". INTO Corporate website. 18 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Partnership Launched To Increase International Recruitment At UAB". INTO Corporate website. 11 December 2015.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Written evidence submitted by INTO University Partnerships (SV27) Home Affairs Select Committee - Additional Written Evidence, Student visas, 15 March 2011, accessed 5 September 2011
  23. ^ Lipsett, Anthea (30 July 2008). "Language trainer Into threatens to sue university union". The Guardian. London.
  24. ^ Lewin, Tamar (8 August 2008). "College and Company Link Up to Lure Foreigners". The New York Times.
  25. ^ "Oregon State University and a British company court international students - and controversy". 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  26. ^ "NAFSA: Association of International Educators". Archived from the original on 8 December 2005. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  27. ^ Harrington, Ben (2018-05-06). "Education tycoon Andrew Colin lines up £300m payday from sale of his company INTO University Partnerships". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  28. ^ 90% of Essex University staff oppose privatisation plan press release University and College Union 20 June 2008, accessed 5 September 2011
  29. ^ [4] Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved October 6, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Andalo, Debbie (30 March 2007). "University drops English privatisation plans". The Guardian. London.
  32. ^ [5][dead link]
  33. ^ a b Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. ^ “Hive-off row” Times Higher Education Supplement 9 Feb 2007
  35. ^ English Language Gazette "Profiteer or prophet?" interview by Melanie Butler, August 2007, available from the media page.
  36. ^ "Into founder says his private capital supports public work." "Times Higher Education Supplement" 1 May 2008
  37. ^ Lipsett, Anthea (30 July 2008). "Language trainer Into threatens to sue university union". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  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

  • INTO's consumer website
  • INTO University Partnerships corporate website
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