Glasgow Caledonian New York Campus rented out to raise funds

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A Scottish university has been forced to rent out buildings at its New York campus for pop-up events to generate much-needed revenue.

Glasgow Caledonian University opened its American venture at a cost of £9.6 million three years ago.

But the GCU New York campus continues to be starved of funding as the university does not yet have a licence to operate in the US and can’t enrol students.

It comes at a time when the university is under considerable financial pressures.

According to documents seen by BBC Scotland, GCU recorded a deficit of almost £2.7 million for the 2015/2016 financial year - the first time the university has gone into the red in nine years.

Its annual financial statement is expected to confirm the figure.

It is believed that the university has suffered partly due to a drop in the number of international students because of changes to the student visa programme.

Unions argued that without investment in the loss-making New York venture, the university would still be in the black.

GCU New York was funded by a loan from the main university in Glasgow, of it £5.6 million had been drawn down by the 2014-2015 financial year. The figure rose by a further £4 million the following year.

• READ MORE: Glasgow Caledonian New York Campus has no students

Deputy vice-chancellor of GCU, Professor James Miller, insisted on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that GCU has enjoyed a healthy balance sheet since 2007.

He said: “Over the past nine years Glasgow Caledonian University has made surpluses and that has allowed us to make the investments that we make, not just in our transnational and international ventures but also in relation to the investments that we make here in Glasgow.

“And the £9.6m that was identified for New York is dwarfed entirely by the £32m that we have recently spent in the heart of Glasgow campus, that we’ve undertaken and completed, so it is a little simplistic to suggest that because we are investing money in New York that we wouldn’t have run this deficit this year.”

He added: He added: “Of course we are slightly frustrated at the fact that we don’t have our licence yet. That sits with the New York State Education Department.

“We are the first university to have gone through this process so that’s why it’s probably taking longer than we were initially led to believe was the case. But we continue to work with the NYSED.”

In the meantime, campus buildings in lower Manhattan have been rented out to raise funds with university logos and flags are believed to be removed for the duration of the events.

It was used by the model Julia Restoin-Roitfeld last weekend for what was publicised as a Le Marche Bleu holiday pop-up shop while the university website suggests Nike and Banana Republic have both previously used its facilities.

GCU New York expects to offer specialist courses in fashion and risk management when it is finally awarded a licence to confer degrees.

There is no indication when this might be with the New York State Education Department stating “no decision has been made” on GCU’s application.