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Brexit and Rising Student Fees: Will International Students Still Be Attracted to Britain?

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Our latest QS report,‘Is Brexit Turning International Students Away From the UK?’, derived from the analysis of interviews which took place in cities across Europe, saw the emergence of several key themes among perceptions of post-Brexit UK as a study destination.  One theme that stood out as particularly contentious was the role of money in higher education. Concerns about finances wound their way through many of our participant’s views, and in many different contexts.

For students, one defining benefit of the UK being part of the EU has been the reciprocal fee agreements between EU member states, which enable EU citizens to study in countries throughout Europe for the same price as domestic students. In the likely event that the UK no longer benefits from these agreements post-Brexit, then students from the EU studying in the UK will start being charged the same amount as international (i.e. non-EU) students, which are normally considerably higher fees. Read more

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What can British Universities do to Reassure International Students That They Are Still Welcome in the UK?

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An uncomfortable truth we uncovered in our latest QS report, ‘Is Brexit Turning International Students Away From the UK?’, was that for some students, the events on the 27th of June 2016 and the press coverage surrounding the EU referendum result all pointed towards a major red flag; Britain is no longer welcoming to immigrants. In turn, this view has fostered a sense amongst some international students that they too are unwelcome in the UK. Students have cited the spike in hate crimes in the UK following the Brexit result to back this up, and some even held the opinion that British people were caught up in a wave of xenophobia.

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Students Reveal Brexit is Likely to Have Uneven Impacts on the UK’s Higher Education System

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Students believe the British higher education system will be ‘downgraded’ following Brexit, with uneven impacts across the sector. During interviews for our Brexit report, many students expressed the view that in a post-Brexit UK, the only universities worth applying to would be the elite, Russell Group institutions. Lower ranked universities, with a less diverse student body and faculty, are likely to lose their appeal. So, whilst universities like Oxbridge, UCL and LSE will maintain their relevance, others which toe the line of such prestige, could be hit hard and are at risk of a significant drop in international applicants. International students contribute greatly to the economy, not only in fees but also through their spending on campus and the local community. Such a prediction could therefore have a detrimental economic impact on universities which do not perform well in the global rankings. Read more

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In with the new and out with old? Or lessons learnt from the past? Remembering and Re-imagining Education

In light of the upcoming Re-imagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation. I started reminiscing about my own university experience, and one particular course came to mind when I looked closely at Hybrid Learning. At QSIU, we are proud to have a team with a diverse skill set, a range of over 12 languages, and have come from various different universities from around the world. Below is an account of a few QSIU team members who share their own memorable experience of past pedagogical methods that have been particularly effective.

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The rise of student debts in the UK of the 2015 graduates following the increased fees

University students graduating from class 2015 are said to have the highest student debts in history according to the recent UK graduate career survey, by High Flyers Research. This is the first cohort of graduates that have had to pay the increased university fees of up to £9000 which has left many of them with average debt of more than £30,000. This is more than a £10,000 increase to the students who graduated in 2012. This figure will be even higher for medics who have to study five years, sometimes six depending on the university, which could potentially leave the students with debts that they can’t pay back or will be paying back for majority of their working life. This figure is lower than the predicted figure of £53,000 than that predicted in 2011 by The Push University Guide[i]. However the UK graduate career survey study also shows that more students are now likely to find jobs than in previous years. [ii]

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Why do students want to study abroad?

Studying abroad is a wonderful, professionally and personally enriching experience. It’s no wonder it’s becoming increasingly popular, with numbers going up from 2 to 4 million students in just the last decade. But what is it students are looking for overseas?

Just in March we interacted with over 500 students from Italy, France, Moscow and UK, with the intention to find out what they value in a university. We were particularly intrigued to see if there’ll be any variation by country.

This is what we found:

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India’s outbound student growth overtakes China for the first time

The first-ever Indian Students Mobility Report 2015, released by M.M Advisory Services reveals a renewed growth in the Indian student market, with student outflows surpassing China for the first time. The new report looks into Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States. These account close to 85% of the total outbound student mobility from India.

China saw a growth rate of 8% in student numbers to the five English-speaking countries between 2013-14, India drew a higher growth rate at 10%. There were over 300,000 students from India in 2014, however this figure still lags behind China’s 650,000 Students. Nonetheless, growth in the Indian market is a welcome change to the slump experienced over the past 4-5 years. The report further estimates the international students market in India is currently valued over $4.5bn, strengthening its position in the student mobility market.

India growth

Source: Indian Students Mobility Report

 

According to the firm, with the exception of the United Kingdom, every other country has seen more students go from India this year than previously. This could perhaps be attributed to the strict visa rules introduced in 2014.

The report, examining trends since 2005, was prepared using statistics and data from government departments in various receiving countries including the US’s Institute of International Education, the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

 

(c) Apple

UK: Watches banned from university exams

Remember when the Google Glass was developed? This was in 2011 and the main idea was to enable users to be connected to the Internet and use a camera with their glasses (although it is currently not developed enough to be available on the market). Last year you probably heard from another IT giant the future launch of the Apple Watch, a new device that will be connected to the Internet and capable of file storage. It is planned to be available on the market from April 2015 with a price starting at $349 (£223 and AU$40).

Last year, the University of London was already discussing about the smart watches potentially becoming a problem in the examination hall from 2015 and beyond, as academics were worried about cheating.

As a precautionary measure, several UK universities have now issued a ban for students during exams to wear a wrist watch, not only smart watches by any watches. It can now be read in City University London’s website: “Due to the introduction of smart watches, candidates are no longer permitted to wear any kind of wrist watch in an examination venue. Please ensure that your wrist watch is placed in your bag before the start of the examination. Anyone found wearing a wrist watch in the examination venue will be asked to remove it and to place it on the floor under their desk.” Are they right to do so? Of course, mobile phones and tablets are already forbidden during exams so why not watches too. An old wall clock will always be reliable.

This precautionary measure has generated some interest in the higher education news in the last few days as students will be ask to remove all wristwatches before taking an exam in selected universities. UK is not the only country taking measures to avoid cheating during examinations, for instance it can be read on Nanyang Technological University’s website that smart watches should not be brought in the examination hall.

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President of The Rockefeller Foundation Spoke at London

Rockfeller

The Rockefeller Foundation is a famous philanthropic organization and private foundation, established by John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”), the American business magnate, who co-founded the Standard Oil Company which has a major impact of the oil industry.

In addition to the big petroleum industry business Rochefeller started, he is also considered to have defined the structure of modern philanthropy through setting up the The Rockefeller Foundation in New York State May 14, 1913.

In the first year of its foundation, $35 million was made as a gift to the foundation, followed by another $65 million donation by John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”) . After 100 years develoment, The Rockefeller Foundation now has an endowment fund of $3.696 bn USD

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For more than 100 years, “to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world” has been advocated as the mission of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Nowadays, one of the key areas the Rockefeller Foundation focus is on “building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses”. This is discussed in greater details of the book “The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong”Resilience dividend

Dr. Judith Robin, is the author of this book, and also the first female President of the Rockefeller Foundation since 2005 . She was previously the first permanent female president of an Ivy League University in the USA-being the 7th President of the University of Pennsylvania(1994-2004), which is being ranked the world’s Top 13th by QS World University Ranking 2014/15.

Today, on the 19th January 2015, Juditch Robin, was interviewed by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta on her book. NESTA. NESTA is formerly NESTA, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. There are about 200 delegates including senior leaders from the Cabinat Office, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for International Development, World Bank, leading UK think tanks and corporates such as Arup, Barclays, Burberry, as well as universities leaders. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit was also invited to this high profile event.
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NESTA is set up in 1998 through £250 million endowment fund established through an Act of the UK Parliament, with the mission to promote innovation capacity of the UK. Nesta was previously an executive non-departmental public body till 2012 when it was made into an independent charity.

There are indeed a lot of interesting points Judith Rodin put forward in her speech about efficient overall strategy to help individual, community, business, government of cities around the world to have more “Resilience”, as defined by a blog Judith wrote in 2014, as “the ability of people, communities and institutions to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more rapidly from acute shocks and chronic stresses”.

For example, she put forward “Awareness, Redundancy / diversity, Integration, Self regulation, Adaptability as the 5 key characteristics of resilience. Some may argue that the whole idea is about “rebranding the art of city planning” in a new way, as suggested by Katherine Mathieson, Programmes Director for British Science Association.
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Also, $100 million has been allocated by the Rockefeller Foundation since 2013 to create the project 100 Resilient Cities-selecting 100 cities around the world to provide support to build urban resilience around the world. Maybe for QS, there could be an consideration to include how resilient a city is as part of the QS Best Students Cities Rankings next year?
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Judith also mentioned about the role education systems around the world could play in contributing to more resilient cities around the world. Her view on that is to educate students, to raise the awareness of such issue. Another part of role universities could play is on the research and innovation on the design and planning of infrastructure of cities, which would certainly have a major impact on how resilient cities could become when face unexpected catastrophy and disasters.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked a question to Judith Robin at the event, on her view about efficient ways to have more bottom up approaches to get the general public to play a more active role on the grassrout level, so that such issue is no more just on top of the agenda of government and business leaders, but everyone. Judith replied highlighting the role NGO, local cities, communinity could play in organising more de-centralised approached in reaching out to the public.

After the forum, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, enjoyed an interesting chat with Dr. Judith Robin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation on the successful Wharton-QS Stars Awards: Reimagine Education which was launched in University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Interestingly, Judith Robin also knew Nunzio Quacquarelli, who founded QS when he was a MBA student at Wharton Business School and asked Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to send best regards to Nunzio Quacquarelli, the Wharton Alumni. Christina also had a brief discussion with Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, on future opportunties to collaborate on education related areas between QS and Nesta.

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UK Graduates poised to attract higher salaries

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A recent report published by High fliers Research Limited “The Graduate Market 2015” reveals an increase in graduate recruitment levels; it’s highest for a decade. The annual report, which surveys the country’s top 100 graduate employers, found that that the median starting salary for graduates will reach £30,000 for the first time this year, up from £29,000 for the past few years.

The study suggests that students leaving university this summer will find a buoyant graduate job market. Employers increased their graduate recruitment by 7.9 per cent in 2014, and will expand the available vacancies for university leavers by 8.1 per cent this year. The highest salaries in 2015 will be those on offer from investment banking (a median of £45,000), law (median of £40,000), banking & finance (median of £36,500) and oil and energy companies (median of £32,500). However, Aldi is said to be among the biggest payers outside the traditional firms, with starting wages of up to £42,000 on offer for trainee managers. Students preparing to enter the jobs market in 2015 are the first generation to pay £9,000-a-year tuition fees. While some argue that the high salaries are in place to enable students to pay back their student loans, the report said it was unlikely that starting salaries were raised as a response to the hike in fees but rather to compete with rival companies.

So how do graduates secure a place in these lucrative roles? The key to securing a top role is undertaking work placements at the firm in question, the study suggests. The survey evidences that a third of jobs are expected to be offered to graduates who have managed to do this. A greater proportion of the UK’s leading graduate recruiters are now offering paid work-experience programmes for students and recent graduates, with an unprecedented 13,049 available this year. Two-thirds have paid internships during the holidays for final-year students and half make industrial placements available as part of degree courses. There are also an increasing number of firms now offering placements for first-year undergraduates. Those with no work experience are unlikely to be successful applicants and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer through graduate programmes, half of the recruiters said.