HE News Briefs 27.9.11

by Abby Chau

  • AUSTRALIA: Visa restrictions have been lifted for international students
  • UNITED STATES: Admission officers feel pressure to look at students who can pay their own way
  • SAUDI ARABIA: The country has been building partnerships around the world but some warn caution
  • SPAIN: Finding it difficult to implement its second year plan for the Bologna Process
  • BRITAIN: Tuition fee hikes have made some consider other routes for students
    • Acting on a report published  by former politician Michael Knight, the Australian government has announced that it will relax visa rules which many critics have voiced concern over for deterring international students from studying in the country. It is well documented that international students contribute heavily to the country’s economy as well as funding cash-strapped universities. Among the changes, which will take effect next year, international students will be able to stay and work for two years, and no longer have to show that they have over $75,000 in the bank to support themselves. The move comes to the relief of many of Australia’s institutions however some caution that universities must learn from its mistakes and not rely too heavily on funds generated by international students.
      Full Story:  The Australian
    • A recent survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed has some heads turning as it was revealed that admission officers in the States have felt increased pressure to look toward students with little or no need for financial aid. 50% of those surveyed from public research universities say that money has become a contributing factor whilst reviewing applications; and almost a quarter surveyed from four-year institutions have said that economic upheaval has forced them to consider a student’s ability to pay their way through schooling. In addition, a proportion of those surveyed also stated that recruiting international students and out-of-state students also are top strategies.
      Full Story:  New York Times
    • With hundreds of foreign partners now operating in Saudi Arabia, the spotlight has fallen on the country and its attempt to reconcile academic achievement and recognition, with freedom of speech and women’s rights. The country, heavily dependent on oil as a source of income, is looking to develop its knowledge economy in order to diversify its outputs. In order to do so, the government has spent a quarter of its budget,  or $40 billion on education and training. While collaboration with foreign partners may be a lucrative venture, some critics have raised concerns, saying that women should be given equal access and academic freedom must be ensured. But despite the caution, countries around the world such as South Korea, Finland, France, Australia, and the United States are all lining up for partnership.
      Full Story:  Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Due to financial hardships, Spain is struggling to implement the second year of its Bologna Process, which is an initiative that seeks to harmonise higher education throughout the Europe. The strategic plan for the implementation for this year includes reducing class sizes, however with a 300 million euros reduction in higher education budgets this year, institutions will struggle to accomplish this feat. In addition, part of the Process also involves faculty mobility however lack of communication skills has also rendered this difficult. Some are now saying say that Spain should have assessed its own structure and fiscal pressures instead of trying to implement the initiative.
      Full Story:  University World News
    • As Britain’s universities continue to grab headlines due to tuition fee hikes, a school in Yorkshire has announced that they will try to help students look beyond England’s institutions in order to pursue higher education.  Headmistress Rhiannon Wilkinson at Harrogate Ladie’s College has said that with 40 institutions in Europe offering courses in English, students should consider going abroad to avoid paying the exorbitant tuition which will come into effect in 2012. Ms Wilkinson goes on to say that the school has been contacted by international universities, including the Fulbright Commission, to entice its students to consider an international higher education experience.
      Full Story:  Yorkshire Post
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