For a college looking to earn a greater reputation, and potentially enroll a lot more students, one answer might be to just extend beyond the campus, way beyond.

According to an article by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times :

Northeastern, known for its co-op program in which undergraduates spend significant amounts of time in the workplace, opened its first satellite campus this fall in Charlotte, N.C., and is planning a second in Seattle next year; outposts in Austin, Tex., Minnesota and Silicon Valley are under discussion.

The goal is to offer master’s degrees in industries like cybersecurity, health informatics and project management, matching programs with each city’s industries and labor needs, through a mix of virtual learning and fly-ins from professors based in Boston (tuition will be the same as at the main campus).

The reason for this? Well, according to the Boston university’s president, Joseph Aoun: “We’re in the business of higher education, and where there’s a new space, we want to step in.”

The idea of opening branch campuses around the country with programs in local vocational needs was apparently inspired by the financial success of for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix. For-profit colleges also target their programs specifically toward occupations, particularly those that demand somewhat ambiguous skill sets and people think are growing.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer