HE News Brief 9.11.10

by Abby Chau

  • Lord Browne’s report continues to dominate headlines in England as universities minister David Willetts announced last week that tuition fees should be capped at £9,000. Under the new system, students will not have to pay up front, it is only until they start earning £21,000 that the repayments will commence. Universities who decide to hike fees will have to create a special scholarship programme for underprivileged households. Universities are given a threshold of increasing fees to £6,000 with universities in exceptional cases able to raise it to the maximum. Lib Dems had previously promised in their manifesto that they would oppose the lifting of tuition fees however with the announcement of dramatic budget cuts of 40%  in direct state funding for teaching, many in Parliament including Vince Cable, have changed their tune. Critics opposed this proposal decrying the free market method in Higher Education.
    Full Story: Guardian
    More: The Economist

  • In order to solidify the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, signed last November, the US government and its Indian counterparts have reconfirmed their commitment to collaborate in Higher Education. President Obama’s recent trip to India is seen as an important step to this end as they announced the first official HE summit between the two countries will take place next year. There are currently 100,000 Indians studying in the US and with India positioned as a major player in Higher Education in the near future, President Obama and his delegation from Cornell University, Stanford, and UPenn are hoping to extend further ties.
    Full Story: Hindustan Times
    Read more

HE News Brief 2.11.10

by Abby Chau

  • A fiscal crisis in Mexico is threatening the existence of 33 public universities. The estimated $35bn financial turmoil, caused by a pension shortfall is deemed critical for ten universities, including the Autonomous University of Mexico State, the University of Veracruz, and the Autonomous University of Morelos. The government is now proposing to double the years of service required for professors and administrators to take part in retirement schemes from 20-25 years, to 40 years. The powerful teachers’ unions have already taken to the streets in mass protest.
    Full Story: The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • As the government is looking to announce plans to raise university tuition fees later on this week, the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu) issued a report saying that 8.9% of the 2009 graduate class, or 21,000 students, were still unemployed in January 2010. The last time the graduate unemployment level reached such a high was in 1993.  The findings also found that IT graduates were hardest hit, with a 16% unemployment rate. This is in contrast to approximately 10% of unemployed graduates who read media studies, engineering, or architecture.  Students with law and geography degrees fared the best, with a 6.2% and 7.4% jobless rate.
    Full Story: BBC

  • Measuring 17 countries, Canadian research firm Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) has published the ranking results of the most affordable and accessible higher education systems.  The Global Higher Education Rankings 2010: Affordability and accessibility in comparative perspective looks at Australia, France, Mexico, Portugal, Estonia, Japan, and others. Surprising results include the United States coming in at 12th for affordability but 4th for accessibility which indicates that lower costs is not the only factor to accessibility in higher education. Finland comes out on top, ranking 1st in both categories.
    Full Story: University World News  Read more