December 2010 Volume 23, Issue 10
  International Education Intelligence   
Regional News Printer version of this article    Email your comment to the editor

Europe


Europe and Asia Catching U.S. in Science Research

The United States is no longer the “colossus of science” it was, and is being caught in terms of published research by Asia and Europe, according to a new study.

“Global Research Report: The United States,” which was published by Thomson Reuters, says that the United States was responsible for almost 40 percent of published research in the most influential journals in 1981, compared to 29 percent in 2009. During that same period, European research publication rose from 33 percent to 36 percent and Asia-Pacific research grew from 13 percent to 31 percent. The report notes that China went from 0.4 percent to nearly 11 percent and is now the second biggest producer of research behind the United States.

Despite the quantitative data, U.S. researchers still wield influence, but the report suggests that the structure of the American research base may be a contributing factor, pointing out that over half of the research is carried out by the 61 U.S. universities in the Association of American Universities.

- Thomson Reuters
November 2010

Students and Professors Protest En Masse Across the Continent

Governments across Europe have been slashing higher education funding as they seek to stay solvent, and students and professors have been taking to the streets in protest. The largest demonstrations have been in Britain, where in November and December thousands of students marched in the capital or occupied university halls to protest drastic government cuts in higher education and planned tuition increases. Similar scenes have played out in Bulgaria, Ireland, Greece, and Italy.

With a few notable exceptions, European university systems are not only being squeezed financially but also physically as they are asked to accommodate ever more students. Many countries have set explicit targets for raising higher-education enrollments over the next decade.

In Bulgaria, the prospect of universities being unable to pay their winter heating bills drove students and professors to voice their outrage. In Ireland, a move to raise student fees by a third next year to €2,000 (US$2,650) led thousands of students onto cold Dublin streets to demonstrate. Italian students angry over spending cuts and cost-saving limits on university research stormed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and occupied the Colosseum in late November, while in Greece, where the government has proposed a profound reform of the higher-education system, professors, not students, have been leading protests.

- The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 9, 2010

Bulgaria

University Ranking System to be Introduced

At the end of the 2011 school year university applicants in Bulgaria will be able to use a new system that will allow them to compare universities across the country, with an objective of helping them make informed decisions on where to enroll.

Currently Bulgaria has 51 universities, training students in 600 majors in 52 occupational fields. With the release of graduate employment data and other statistics, students will have a point of comparison in choosing their field and university. The project is being run by the Soros Open Society Institute in collaboration with the government.

The system will allow users to manipulate the data so that they can make their own package of indices and compile a ranking specific to their needs. The website as well as the booklet that has been released will include detailed standard rankings as well. The standard ranking has been drawn up on the basis of questions to the general public, students, teachers, professors and employers. This is the subjective part of the ranking system. However, there are also data from official registers related to academic staff, number of fulltime professors, money allocated to science research, etc. In total there are 51 separate indices.

The university ranking system is available at http://rsvu.mon.bg.

- Radio Bulgaria
November 15, 2010

France

Study: French Academics Leaving for U.S. Institutions in Increasing Numbers

A new study by the Institut Montaigne, a French research organization, has alarmed educators in France about a growth in the immigration of French academics to the United States. Among the evidence cited: Between 1971 and 1980, academics represented 8 percent of the population leaving France, but between 1996 and 2006, they represented 27 percent. Further, of the 2,745 French citizens who earned a doctorate in the United States from 1985 to 2008, 70 percent stayed, while a study to identify the top French researchers in economics and biology found that about 40 percent live in the United States.

For the report, the author, Ioanna Kohler, interviewed many of the researchers who have settled in the United States about what attracted them -- and what could lure them back. A majority said their main reason for leaving for the United States was to be surrounded by "a critical mass" of leading scholars. In terms of finances, she said that American academics (both young stars and those whose careers have been well established) earn more than their French counterparts. But beyond average salary figures, one key difference is that French universities do not differentiate based on the market demands for various disciplines in a way that American universities do.

The report calls for a series of reforms, one of which urges French organizations to track those academics who leave the country, to identify trends in their movement, and to keep them involved in academic issues in France. Other changes could be more controversial. For example, the report calls for the use of "personalized recruitment packages" to attract some scholars back from the United States, more of a willingness to recruit spouses at the same time, greater inclination to view academic recruitment as international in nature, and improved efforts to identify job openings in France that might appeal to the best foreign talent.

- The New York Times
November 21, 2010

Germany

DAAD Calls for 25% More International Students by 2020 to Fill Skills Gap

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has called for a 25 percent increase in enrollments from abroad over the next decade, to help Germany cope with its shortage of skilled labor. Currently, about 30 percent of foreign students who graduate from a German higher education institution stay in the country.

According to the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHT), the German economy currently lacks a needed 400,000 skilled employees, including engineers and academics. Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle is pressing for a new system of immigration that would supplement regulations that were introduced in 2005 to allow foreign students graduating from German institutions to work in skilled professions.

From 2007, foreign students who have graduated from a German institution can stay on in Germany for up to one year after finishing their studies, with no need to prove a minimum income. Also, those who have been legal residents of Germany for eight years (including study time) and meet conditions such as being in skilled employment, are eligible for citizenship.

Germany enrolls the fourth most international students of any country in the world after the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. The number of foreign students has grown by 40 percent in the 10 years since 2000, and in 2009, enrollment of first-year foreign students peaked at 74,000.

- University World News
November 20, 2010

The Netherlands

76,000 Foreign Students in Dutch Higher Education

The Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) has launched a new annual report on internationalization entitled Mapping Mobility 2010: International Mobility in Dutch Higher Education.

According to the report, The Netherlands hosted 76,750 international students in 2009/10, with the largest group (21,700 or 44 percent of the total) coming from Germany, followed (in rank order) by China, Belgium, Bulgaria, Turkey, Indonesia and Poland. More female than male international students were present in The Netherlands in 2009/10 and the most popular area of study for foreign students was economics. In terms of outward mobility, among the 41,800 Dutch students who studied abroad in 2006/07 (the latest year for which figures are available), the largest number opted to travel to the United Kingdom (5,000). Belgium and Germany were the second most popular destinations, hosting 3,650 and 1,950 Dutch students, respectively.  

The number of incoming international students shows an upward trend, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of overall enrollment figures. Over the period 2005-2009, for example, foreign students as a proportion of total student enrollment at universities grew from 6.3 percent to 9.3 percent; in higher professional education (in universities of applied sciences), the percentage of international students increased from 5.8 percent to 6.4 percent over the same period. 

- Nuffic
November 10, 2010

Spain

Spain and India Sign University Collaboration Agreement

Four Spanish universities will collaborate with seven Indian counterparts to further the internationalization of higher education. Alliance 4 Universities, a grouping of Spanish institutions, said: "Indian and Spanish institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on internationalization of higher education and develop programs that benefit student and faculty exchange."

The Spanish alliance comprises the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Madrid, Carlos III University of Madrid and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. "With this collaboration we aim to enhance international mobility of students, researchers and academics and help establish research collaboration partnerships worldwide," said Ana Ripoll Aracil, president of the group.

The seven Indian institutions are: The Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore,Indian Institute of Foreign Trade of India, Birla Institute of Management Technology, Consortium of National Institutes of Technology of India (Co-NIT), Jaypee Education System, and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

- Alliance4Universities
November 20, 2010

Sweden

Era of Free Education for International Students Comes to an End

Starting next fall, international students from outside Europe will face application fees and a tuition bill if they wish to pursue a degree in Sweden. From December 1, the first day international students could submit applications for admission for the autumn 2011 term, students from outside the European Union and European Economic Area are required to pay a 900 kronor (US$125) fee to file their application.

Tuition fees are expected to top out at 200,000 kronor (US$29,200) annually for students not from the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA). Combined with estimated living costs of 8,000 to 10,000 kronor a month, the formerly tuition-free system is bracing for a dramatic reduction in overseas enrollments.

However, the creation of scholarship programs is one way the government hopes to temper the expected enrollment drop-off. To start with, 30 million kronor will be allocated for students from the 12 countries designated by the Swedish government as qualifying for special programs to promote their development. The countries include Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. From this fund, the government plans to create 80 to 100 scholarships, mainly for masters-level students. The government has also set aside another 30 million kronor for the 2011-12 academic year to provide scholarships for other non-European students from the rest of the world to be allocated by universities by various means.

- The Local
December 1, 2010

United Kingdom

209,000 Miss Out on University Places for 2010/11

Official figures show that more than 209,000 prospective students were left without a university place this year in the UK. This was 52,938 or a third more than in 2009, data from the University and College Admission System (UCAS) say.

The figures from the university admissions services show just under seven out of 10 applicants found a place at university compared with 75 percent the year before. With applications up for a limited number of places competition was tougher than in previous years. And overall, the number of UK applicants accepted for a university place in 2010 was down slightly by 0.2 percent to 421,288 on 2009. The number of foreign students, who pay higher fees than domestic students, rose by 7 percent at the same time.

Association of Colleges assistant chief executive Julian Gravatt said this year's figures heralded worse to come next year.

"Students will be scrambling for places prior to a rise in tuition fees in 2012 - plus we will see a 5 percent growth in the number of students sitting A-level or equivalent exams next year as more young people stay on."

- BBC
November 16, 2010

Britain's Only For-profit Degree Provider Forecasts Bleak Short-term Future with Large Write-off

More than a quarter of the purchase value of for-profit provider BPP has been written off by its US parent company because of uncertainty surrounding the future of private provision in the U.K. End-of-year financial results filed in October by Apollo Group with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show $170.4 million (£106 million) in "impairment charges" as a result of a reassessment of BPP's financial outlook.

A statement accompanying the results refers to fall enrollment levels at BPP, which focuses on business and law education, being "adversely impacted" by the economic downturn. Apollo expects "no near-term recovery" in demand, the statement warns.

The write-off comes at a time when private providers in the UK are hoping that reforms proposed by a government committee will be passed and allow private bodies to compete more freely with established universities. The Browne Review, under which the reforms are outlined, would allow students at private institutions greater access to student loans. This winter, the coalition government is expected to shed light on the details of its proposals for structural reforms to higher education, although the changes are unlikely to come into effect before the 2013-14 academic year.

BPP, which was awarded university college status earlier this year by the government, was bought by Apollo Global, a subsidiary of Apollo Group, last year for just over $600 million. BPP recently announced plans to expand its law school, with new centers opening in Cambridge, Liverpool and Newcastle. The acquisition of BPP by Apollo instantly gave the US company the much sought-after prize of a provider with UK degree-awarding powers.

- Times Higher Education
November 18, 2010

Plans Announced to Reduce the Link Between Study and Work Visas

The British Home Secretary in November indicated that her government intends to significantly reduce the number of international students entering the UK labor market after graduation, in addition to dramatically cutting the number of pre-tertiary students coming to the country to study.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said: "We will have to take action across all routes to entry - work visas, student visas, family visas - and break the link between temporary routes and permanent settlement."

At the end of November she announced that the number of skilled migrants from outside Europe was to be capped at 21,700 a year from April 2011, but within that there would be a category of 1,000 "people with exceptional talent" to ease fears that scientists, academics and artists would be denied entry by the cap.

A final decision on how to limit visas for non-EU foreign students has, however, been put on hold with the announcement that a consultation will be launched by May before the end of the year on adjusting the immigration points system to manage the in-flow more tightly. The policy response to the consultation will form part of a package of measures being developed to reduce annual net migration from 196,000 to 'tens of thousands' by 2015. Students currently account for two-thirds of migrants entering the UK each year, but May suggested the emphasis was likely to be on restricting pre-tertiary level students.

Dominic Scott, chief executive of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), said if implemented the restriction on foreign graduates taking UK jobs would make the UK less attractive for those students who wished to gain work experience immediately after their degree. But in the current climate it had not been easy anyway for graduates to obtain jobs and many had chosen to go home to look for opportunities.

According to the most recent data from UKCISA (2008-09), the number of international students studying full-time at publicly funded higher education institutions was 306,000, of whom 92,000 were EU students and 214,000 were non-EU students. In addition there were thought to be around 50,000 EU and non-EU students in publicly funded further education institutions and between 150,000 and 200,000 students in the private sector, including those studying English language for more than six months, vocational training, pre-university preparation (including A-level study) and higher education.

- University World News
November 28, 2010

UK Universities Still Attractively Cheap for US Students

It is almost heresy to say it right now in the U.K., with English students recently taking to the streets in protest at the government's decision to raise tuition fees to no less than £6,000 a year (just under $10,000) for domestic enrollees, but by U.S. standards, universities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain a "cheap" place to get an education.

Tuition fees in the U.K. vary from institution to institution, and also from region to region, but the cost for an overseas undergraduate at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, for the academic year 2009-2010 would be about $19,000. The Wall Street Journal cites the example of final-year economics undergraduate Robert Rogers who transferred from Georgetown University to the London School of Economics, dropping his annual tuition fees to around $20,000 a year from around $41,000.

Every college that features in the top 20 of the U.S. News and World Report's most recent ranking of best U.S. colleges costs at least $34,000 a year for tuition and fees. Most, in fact, are closer to $40,000 a year, and quite a few top that level. Fees at the University of Oxford for U.S. students come in at just over $20,000 for an undergraduate program of study.

More than 3,000 U.S.-domiciled undergraduate-level students applied to British universities in 2009, according to UCAS, the organization responsible for managing applications to higher-education programs in the U.K. And while only 1,330 were accepted, according to UCAS, the relatively modest numbers mask a rising trend. There has been a 27 percent increase in undergraduate applications from U.S. students since 2006, while the total number of U.S. students studying for full degrees at British higher-education institutions as of 2009—across both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels—stands at just over 14,000, data from the U.K.'s Higher Education Statistics Agency show.

- The Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2010

What Impact Will Increased Domestic Fees Have on International Enrollments?

The fee rise introduced in autumn 2006 for domestics students caused a one-year drop in applications and enrollments before the domestic demand for tertiary education continued on an upwards trajectory. According to Universities UK in a submission to the Browne Committee, which recently proposed that universities be able to charge up to three times their current cap on fees, this is partly because the negative impact of fees was countered by the introduction of loans and the reintroduction of grants.

If this experience were repeated there is a good chance that the direct impact on international fees would be modest. And a paper by two economists at Lancaster University Management School concludes that there was no linear relationship between fees and international applications at 97 universities between 2002 and 2007. Other reports submitted to Browne have predicted that an increase in fees will reduce applications regardless of increased loan availability. Obviously, future enrollment trends at British universities are far from clear.

Given the “decimation” of the government-teaching grant (from £3.5bn to £0.7bn) for universities, it is unlikely that there will be any headway made in reducing the number of applicants that remain unplaced (200,000+ this year) from UK and EU applicants, predicts a body representing British universities in their internationalization efforts.

In a recent article, The International Unit states that when one adds “in the existing uncertainties over student visas and potential caps on international student numbers” it “seems clear that if there is to be an impact on international fees in the short- and medium-terms, it is going to be upwards.”

The article takes note of the government’s assertions that “foreign students will still pay a significant amount of money, but we should be able to keep that growth under control,” but concludes that “international demographics may prove to be the most profound determinant on the international student market.” Point being that the size of the 18-24 age group is set to fall between now and 2030, according to OECD estimates, and that “the long-term effect might be to reverse the current explosion in international student participation, in terms of both student mobility and transnational educational provision. Given that there is likely to be increasing competition for these students in any scenario, international fees could go south and the PM might be right, eventually.”

- International Unit
November 24, 2010

English State Universities Set to Become Most Expensive in the World

British lawmakers in December approved a bill to allow universities in England to increase undergraduate tuition to as much as £9,000 a year (more than US$14,000) from the current rate of £3,290. The increase, which will take effect for the academic year beginning in the fall of 2012, will transform many English universities into the most expensive public institutions in the world.

The average tuition and fees at public four-year institutions in the United States for the last academic year, by contrast, was $7,020. For England, the move marks a radical transformation for a system that did not even charge tuition until 1998. The £9,000 rate is a cap that the government described as an "absolute limit," intended only to be charged by a handful of universities, with most institutions expected to set their tuition closer to a "basic threshold" of £6,000, or $9,450. But according to a report released by the University and College Union on Wednesday, most universities will have to charge an average tuition of close to £7,000 to maintain current revenue levels in the face of sweeping government cuts.

Students in Scotland will be unaffected by the measure because tuition at universities there is set by the Scottish government. Last week the Welsh Assembly announced that, although tuition at universities there would rise to the same levels as in England, it would subsidize Welsh students studying anywhere in Britain, meaning that they would continue to pay tuition at the current rate of £3,290 even after the increase. The Northern Ireland Assembly is expected to adopt a measure similar to that of Wales.

- The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 9, 2010

Printer friendly version of this article      Email your comments to the editor