Under legal pressure, Webster University Geneva Finally Rebrands

Webster University Geneva, a private higher education institution established in the city in 1978, has rebranded to Webster Geneva Campus. This change came after legal pressure from the Geneva Cantonal authorities, which engaged legal proceedings against Webster after its initial refusal to comply with new Swiss regulations and drop “university” from its name.

Ryan Guffey, Director of Webster Geneva Campus, confirmed to The Geneva Observer via email that “[t]he name change occurred earlier this year.” The institution’s rebranding follows a clampdown by Swiss authorities on the use of the term “university” by several private educational institutions, a situation first revealed by The Geneva Observer more than a year ago.

Could Webster University have to rename itself?
By Sarah Zeines A change in the Swiss Higher Education Act, which aims to coordinate, maintain the quality, and ensure the competitiveness of the entire higher education sector in Switzerland, has prompted several schools to apply for a federal accreditation. Without the national government’s stamp of approval, schools with

As of January 1, only private higher education institutions certified in Switzerland are permitted to use “university” in their names. While several institutions successfully obtained certification under the new law, Webster began the certification process but eventually withdrew its application. Sources close to the discussions between the Swiss Certification Board and Webster told The G|O at the time that compliance with the new requirements would have necessitated significant changes to Webster Geneva’s business model, impacting its revenue. 

In the wake of this enforced name change, Webster Geneva is “assessing the broader implications of the new legislation across Switzerland,” Guffey emphasized in his email, adding that Webster “continues to be accredited by the US Higher Learning Commission.”

This rebranding occurs amid recent reports of serious financial and managerial difficulties faced by Webster University in the US.


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