WENR, March 2007: Americas
Private Colleges in Ontario Seek to Salvage Battered Image with the Chinese
A new Ontario law aims to repair the damage caused to the reputation of the province’s colleges after a warning on a Chinese government website about unscrupulous operators and substandard programs at some of Canada’s private colleges has left education officials concerned about a potential decline in lucrative foreign-student enrollments. Chris Bentley, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, said sweeping changes under the new Private Career Colleges Act should help repair Canada’s reputation. The situation is also being tracked in South Korea, whose students, together with China’s, account for about one-third of Canada’s 60,000 foreign students. Under the new legislation, a training completion assurance fund to be set up by 2009 will assure students of a refund or further training if a school closes suddenly. The act will also limit private career colleges to collecting no more than 25 per cent of fees upfront and require them to hold student visa fees in a trust account until they begin studies.
— The Toronto Star
Feb 15, 2007
Latest Maclean’s Ranking Favors Smaller Universities
According to the latest ranking of student satisfaction by Maclean’s Magazine, smaller schools continue rank as most popular among Canadian students. The magazine presents results from three student-satisfaction and student-engagement surveys that cover almost all of the universities that are ranked by Maclean’s every fall. More than 70,000 Canadian students participated in at least one of the surveys. Most of the students surveyed felt their expectations of their universities had been fulfilled, despite their complaints about specific issues. However, about a quarter of the graduating seniors, many of them at large universities, said their campus experience had fallen short of what they were expecting.
March 23, 2007
US University Abandons Campus Plans in Dubai
The University of Connecticut has dropped plans, for now, to open a branch campus in Dubai, according to the Journal Inquirer, a Connecticut newspaper. In an e-mail message cited by the paper, the university’s provost said “legal and jurisdictional issues” explained why a “planning grant contract” between UConn and Dubai had not been signed. The official, Peter L. Nicholls, did not specify the nature of those issues, although the Journal Inquirer noted that a state lawmaker had criticized the Emirate’s human-rights record and an American Jewish group had assailed its ban on Israeli citizens. The provost said he understood that Dubai, which remains keen to attract a major U.S. research university, was talking with other American universities and had approached administrators in the Michigan and North Carolina state school systems.
— Journal Inquirer
Feb 20, 2007
Study Abroad Most Effective Under Managed Programs
The number of college students spending a period of time studying abroad has doubled over the last decade and it continues to grow. A year ago, the federally appointed Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship produced a plan to increase the number of US college students studying abroad to a million within a decade. At the annual meeting in February of the Association of International Education Administrators, a number of speakers said that while they welcomed the sentiments of the report they also questioned its emphasis on quantity over quality. According to recent studies conducted by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and cited at the meeting by Michael Vande Berg, vice president for academic affairs at CIEE, “there is a large and growing body of research suggesting that students learn effectively only if we intervene before, during and after their experiences abroad.” The emphasis here is that students will gain more culturally and linguistically from an overseas experience if they participate in well-structured, well-supervised programs rather than through poorly managed programs where they are left to learn on their own, in the “grand tour” model of study abroad.
Feb. 21, 2007
In Excess of 11,000 Visas Issued to Saudi Students in 2006
At more than 11,000, the number of Saudis issued student visas for higher studies in 2006 was three times the 2001 figure of 4,359, according to US Undersecretary for International Trade Franklin L. Lavin. However, the number of visas for all categories has dropped from 60,000 to 25,000 in the same period.
— Arab News
15 March 2007
Study Sheds New Light on Internatioanl Student Flows to U.S.
According to recent study of student visa trends by Education Sector, a Washington-based think tank, there were approximately 20,000 fewer student visas issued last year than there were pre-9/11, despite a 15 percent year-on-year increase in F-1 visas. The authors of the repot conclude that talk of a comeback in foreign student numbers, as indictaed by the Institute for International Education’s 2006 Open Doors report, is premature. The annual IIE tally of international enrollments found that the number of foreign students studying in the United States stabilized in 2005-06, after two years of declines. More importantly, the study found that new enrollments had increased by more than 8 percent, suggesting an upward trend in coming years. The Education Sector report is based on yet-to-be released State Department data from 2005-06, as well as data going back to 1997-98.
Some of the declines in U.S. student visas being awarded are steepest in countries with large Muslim populations. Since 1997-98, the report finds the number of visas awarded to be down 75.6 percent for students from the United Arab Emirates, 60.9 percent from Oman, 60.1 percent from Morocco, 55.4 percent from Bangladesh, 54.8 percent from Indonesia, and 52.1 percent from Algeria. (There are exceptions to this trend, most notably Saudi Arabia, where visas are up, and where the United States has endorsed an effort by the Saudi government to send many more students to the United States.)
March 22, 2007