HE News Brief 30.4.12
By Abby Chau
- UK: The government has announced it will lift student place restrictions in 2013
- Australia: Discussion on capping international student numbers
- US: Call for boycott of journal publishers growing in momentum
- China: Fake degrees and qualifications on the rise
The UK government has announced that universities in 2013 may be able to enrol an unlimited number of students with A Level grades of ABB. This will allow, they say, for more students to be able to attend the university of their choice. At the moment, universities place limits on the number of students institutions may accept but new policies will take effect in 2012 when tuition fees are due to increase. General secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, says that it is premature for the government to roll out this policy when the policy changes in 2012 has yet to take place.
Businessman Michael Chaney of Australia’s International Education Advisory Council has suggested that there be a cap on international student numbers. The discussion surrounding this issue is multi-fold as it poses question on universities who rely too heavily on foreign students in order to fill budget gaps. At the climax of the international student market, foreign students made up 20% of some institutions’ total revenue. Chaney also asked whether university and public infrastructure may be able to handle increase numbers of overseas students.
Harvard has joined the discussion regarding journal publisher prices and whether changes must be made to the existing system, which some are saying, is charging universities too much money. Harvard Library estimated that it is costing the university 3.5 million a year on subscription costs and prices have increased by 145% in the last six years. Executive director of Research Libraries UK (RLUK) David Prosser says that if a university like Harvard, which has an enormous endowment, is lamenting the costs, universities who are not as financially well off are certainly struggling to keep pace with increasing subscription costs.
The number of students in China with foreign degrees is on the rise. A degree from a western country was viewed as a golden ticket to such a degree that there have been illegal activities surrounding fake degrees issued by ‘agencies’ posing as representatives of a branch office of an overseas university. In the latest scandal, nine were arrested for allegedly providing fake degrees to 30 people, including high-ranking officials from major international corporations. The racket, now that foreign degrees is commonplace, has extended to professional qualifications.