US varsity (Pepperdine University of California) denies plans to set up campus in AP

The state government, which was quick to announce that the Pepperdine University of California would be setting up its campus on a sprawling 600 acres land in Nalgonda-Warangal road, was left red-faced with the university president, Andrew K Benton, denying that any such decision had been taken.

In a statement, Benton said that Pepperdine and India "are still at the early stages of talks, making it too early to say exactly what any potential programme might look like.''

Information technology minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah had announced to the media that the university would be setting up shop in the state. This was followed by a press note from chief minister's office (CMO) on February 2 after a delegation led by vice provost Timothy Chester met chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy. Details were provided, that it would be coming up on the Nalgonda-Warangal road with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and intake of 3,000 students. The government also claimed that Pepperdine was one of the top 20 universities in the world.

While Benton denied that any such decision had been taken, university administrators said it was also not correct to say that Pepperdine was looking to invest approximately $220 million on the project.

"The possibility of a fullblown American-style campus is complex. As of now, there are no identifiable sites or funding for a Pepperdine programme in Hyderabad,'' the statement said.

According to a statement by Chester himself, "the opportunities warrant investigation. A full-blown market investigation is precursory to any kind of talk, which could inform Pepperdine about two things: India's needs in terms of skill gaps and Pepperdine's potential in the give-and-demand environment.''

With respect to the specific location, they said the university was merely examining whether or not India would be a good place for international programmes.

State government officials refused to comment on the developments on Sunday.
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