HE News Brief 8.2.11

by Abby Chau

  • With 45% of young people now vying for a place at university, competition is at its toughest. The Russell Group has just announced a list of A-level subjects which would make students more competitive at finding a place at top universities.  At least two core subjects such as English, maths, biology, chemistry, and geography are advised to be taken. This announcement comes at a time when a report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute shows that in 2003, 6% of applicants were not offered a place and in 2010, this has more than doubled to 14%.  The applicants who did not find a place were more likely to be less qualified.
    Full Story: The Economist
  • The Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services recently announced a drastic 75% decrease in the number of foreign applications to the fall semester. This is the first test of a series of new fees which includes application and tuition fees for foreign applicants. Non-EU, E.E.A or Swiss applicants must now pay $140 in application costs and some universities are able to ask them to cough up approximately $30,000 in tuition fees. Tuula Kuosmanen, director of the agency, said that Denmark saw a similar decline in foreign applications when they introduced fees in 2006, but applications eventually recovered.
    Full Story:  New York Times

  • A new ranking of Colombia universities has just been released by the Sapiens Research Group. The Universidad Nacional de Colombia topped the list, followed by the Universidad de Antioquia, and Universidad del Valle. There are 239 universities and colleges in Colombia but only 62 met the criteria established by Sapiens. Some have criticised the list as not effectively distinguishing between numerous campuses and thus labelling them as separate institutions.
    Full Story:  University World News

  • Following the shake-up of the UK higher education system with tuition fee hikes amounting to £9,000, more restructuring is occurring at a grand scale. The University of Nottingham and Birmingham has recently announced that they will be working more closely together. Both universities insist this is not a merger but they plan on collaborating on research outputs, academic appointments, and sharing facilities.  Vice-chancellors has said that in the long term, the universities may offer joint degree programmes.
    Full Story: BBC News
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