Record survey responses fuel QS World University Rankings 2011/2012

Tomorrow sees our latest results emerge on This year we have had the good fortune to attract record survey responses both of Academics and Employers. Over the 33,000 academics and over 16,000 employers have contributed their views to form this year’s response base. More detail on the survey responses is available here:

Academic Survey Response

Employer Survey Response

Fact files have been delivered this year with more detail than ever and international media are poised to publish and reflect on the results in the morning. You will notice something different about the presentation of our tables this year – and that is the emphasis on fees. Wherever we have been able to track down data we are publishing average undergraduate and postgraduate, domestic and international fees this year – giving prospective international students – particulalry those in countries where domestic fees are escalating – an invaluable resource to help make the best decisions.

More analysis here over the next few days.

Visas, another homework for governments towards international education and Latin America students. Part III.

by Liliana Casallas

Part III. UK System & Fact table

In the UK, the process has also been changing. Students from Latin America are able to apply online for the visa.  Students who wish to pursue their studies in the UK can use the Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), which is an electronic reference number that is given to applicants as proof that they have been offered a place at an UK institute. According to the British High Commissioner, Rob Fenn, it is one of the changes in order to move toward a consolidation of one system, which integrates an online application, appointment, biometrics within the ‘point based system’ in order  to support the strategy of a centralized decision-making process for each region.

In the case of Latin America, the visa application process has been centralised in New York, where they receive and review applications.

The official time for responses takes between a minimum of 5 to 120 working days but response time depend on the country. Nevertheless, there are records of 90% applications processed in 3 days for Brazil, 5 days for Colombia, 10 days for Mexico and 30 days for Venezuela.

It is too early to state if a offshore centralized decision-making process is favourable for expediting student visas but new tools such as CAS will help with the delays caused by acceptance letters.

Certainly, some countries have an open policy to attract international students and promote higher education, others, are also interested to keep the best fresh minds as part of a strategy to invest in the country.  As seen in table IV, countries such as the US and UK run a policy to allow students to work in a particular sector after studying in the country. Contrary, Spain has a strongly restrictive visa application system and processing for applicants whatever they are a student or not. Additionally, as one can see below, there are no clear standards in terms of requirements, time, policy and approval rates.

  Australia USA Spain UK
Visa process

A1= 14 days

A2 = 21 days

A3= 90 days

Up to 60 days  (excluding visa interview, delivery)

No information

 Up to 120 days


 Visa Fee (1)


$200 (Plus booking appointment cost and $131 application process fee)



Part Time Work

Up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks.

On-campus employment of 20 hours a week or less.

40 hours for internships upon approval.


Allowed but number of hours not defined.

Up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks.


Staying beyond the authorized stay


F-1 student – An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.

Students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are entitled to legally work under Optional Practical Training for 29 months


Students are allowed to apply for Tier 1 visa, which allows students who have successfully obtained a degree or postgraduate certificate/diploma in the UK to remain and work for up to 2 years.

Approval rate

2006-07 (93.89%)


           Average 69% Not published

Not published


Table.IV. Visa facts per country

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Visas, another homework for governments towards international education and Latin America students. Part.II

by Liliana Casallas

Part II. USA and Spain System

In the US actions to create a transparent and efficient process are related to make students a priority so that they may travel in time to begin their course of study, having focused on cutting wait time for interviews.  There are also procedures in place to expedite student applicants, even on short notice. From March 2010, the visa programme is moving towards applying through a unique online form (DS-160), replacing three forms previously used.  According to an official source, 90% of applications have wait times of less than 30 days for student and business travellers.

There is no current updated information on rejection rates, however, between 2001 and 2005 the rate of visa rejections was 31%. Table III shows the number of student visas issued, which has been growing proportionally since 2006.  Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are on the top of the list.

Country 2006 2007 2008 2009
Brazil 5,926 7,418 10,556 9,160
Mexico 7,885 7,778 7,538 6,281
Colombia 2,933 3,317 3,961 3,912
Venezuela 1,928 2,244 2,363 2,543
Argentina 1,115 1,061 1,117 1,076
Chile 992 1,108 1,076 1,074
Peru 1,089 1,065 1,101 1,005
Ecuador 1,144 1,067 1,005 960
Panama 613 499 579 547
Cuba 7 18 21 16

Table III. Student Visa (F-1) issued for Latin America

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Visas, another homework for governments towards international education and Latin America students. Part I. Australia

by Liliana Casallas

The United States, Cuba, France, Spain and the UK are the main host countries for Latin American students who choose to pursue higher education overseas. Each country has their own policy for student visas. Some of these countries have been working for years to establish a transparent and fair system for international students.

Meanwhile, students take into account eligibility, requirements, timings and the paper work process, additionally to other factors such obtaining a permit to work, visa extensions and the migration programme of the host country.

 Australia only hosts 1% of mobile students from Latin America. However, it is worth to review Australia’s immigration policy as it is one of the most recognized immigration systems and is a point of reference for other governments who intend to improve their systems such as the UK.

In 2008-2009, Australia processed 227,924 off-shore applications, 52% of those were online. The process to apply for student visas take up to 90 days depending on  the assessment level of the participant’s country of origin, which is a key element of the application process.

 Australia recognises the importance of being an attractive country for international students and is working on continuous changes to improve the integrity of the student visa program as well as to help streamline the visa application process.

 The US tags its immigration policy as “Secure borders, open doors”, which pursues the dual goals of keeping the US safe and of welcoming qualified students. The US government perceives international educational exchange as a good path to create interpersonal exchanges and cross cultural understanding that helps to create a more stable world.

 The governments are looking to strike the right balance between making the visa application process easier to genuine students while setting additional controls to avoid people who may abuse the system.

 Australia now seeks to assess students enrolling in more than one course, enabling the government to cancel visas that do not comply with the policy during their stay in the country. The Australian government increased the basic rate of living cost for international student from $12,000 to $18,000 a year, elevating the visa requirement for students to prove they have sufficient funds for living in Australia.

 Australia also established five assessment levels in the student visa program, which are related to the immigration risk level.  Assessment level 5 is the highest based on the calculated immigration risk posed by students from that country studying in any educational sector (Higher Education and Postgraduate Research). The level of assessment define the time and process of evaluation of the visa application.  See table 1, to review process time vs. current performance.

Students Assessment Level 1 Level 2 Level 3/4
75% processing time 14 days 21 days 90 days
Actual 75 percentile 15 days 21 days 71 days

Table 1: Students – performance against service standards

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HE News Brief 12.04.10

by Abby Chau


Several  higher education news stories sparked our interest this week.

  • The Economist gives a succinct overview of university rankings and their supposed value to higher education. An interesting fact from the article: The Netherlands offer a special visa programme for those who have a masters degree from a university that comes up top on two international league tables.
    Full Story: The Economist
  • The AP explains the possible reasons for the steep increase of research papers coming out of China recently. Citing rampant forgery and plagiarism in Chinese research papers and journals, the AP investigates this developing issue.
    Full Story: Associated Press
  • An interesting article on the dramatic decrease of Japanese international students in U.S higher education institutions. South Korea, China, and India are now sending students in record numbers as Japanese ‘grasshoppers’ are increasingly preferring to stay at home.
    Full Story: Washington Post
    More: Chosun llbo
    Read more