WENR, June 2008: Americas
Norway Signs Agreements with Brazil, Argentina and Chile
The Norwegian Ministry of Higher Education and Research has signed agreements on research collaboration and higher education with Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Norway will collaborate in areas such as climate, energy, polar research and fisheries, agreements that will include the exchange of students and researchers.
– Ministry of Education and Research news release
April 14, 2008
Four universities – two in the United States and two in Brazil– are collaborating on an international distance learning project through a program facilitated by technology from Wimba, an instant message system designed for institutions of education. The U.S.-Brazil Consortium will allow collaboration among teachers and learners at The University of Georgia in Athens, Utah State University in Logan, Universidade Federal do Ceará and Universidade Estadual Paulista, Bauru.
Students in the program spend time in both countries over the span of three semesters plus one summer month, while also participating in distance learning courses. The consortium is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Brazilian Ministry of Education’s Fundacao Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES). Through the program, instructional technology professors at all four universities teach courses to students on both continents using Wimba Classroom and other learning technologies.
– Campus Technology
May 21, 2008
International Students Granted Longer Post-Graduation Work Opportunities
The federal department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced in April new rules for international students who wish to stay on in Canada and work after graduation. Under the new regulations, international tertiary graduates will be eligible for a work permit with no restrictions on the type of employment and no requirement for a job offer. The new policy is effective immediately. Graduates will be able to work for up to three years after receiving their diplomas or degrees. Under previous regulations, international graduates were only allowed to work for one or two years, depending on the location of studies and employment.
The move is designed to make Canada a more attractive destination for international students, who today have many more options available to them than in the past, especially if they have in-demand skills or ample financing.
For more information, see this month’s feature article.
– Citizenship and Immigration Canada
April 21, 2008
U.S. Education Company to Open Virtual Canadian University
Apollo Group Inc. announced in May that it is planning to open a university in Canada. Fredericton-based Meritus University has been approved by the New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education in Canada. The school will offer degree programs online to working professionals throughout Canada and abroad.
Apollo’s University of Phoenix has had a presence in Canada for nearly a decade. The new university will employ Canadian faculty from a wide spectrum of industries. It will not seek U.S. accreditation.
– Phoenix Business Journal
May 12, 2008
Student-Visa SEVIS Fees to Double
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is planning to almost double the fees, to as much as $200, that international students must pay in order to update the system it uses to monitor those students.
Scheduled to take effect from October 1, the new fees will affect students applying for F, J or M visas, and will fund improvements to a database known as the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The database was created post-September 11, and it tracks foreign students and exchange visitors applying to U.S. institutions of education. Fees are to be borne by students and the institutions they attend.
The proposal would double the Sevis fee paid by non-immigrants applying for F-1 student visas to $200 and would increase the fee for students seeking J-1 exchange-visitor visas to $180. For colleges that are not now enrolled in the system, fees charged for initial certification to participate in Sevis will increase from $230 to $1,700. In addition, site visit charges, which are incurred when an agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement inspects a campus applying to participate in Sevis, will nearly triple, from $230 to $655.
International education officials have expressed concern at the new fees, suggesting that they represent another deterrent for internationally mobile students looking for a study destination. The public has until June 20 to comment on the proposed rule, which may be submitted through a government Web site or by fax to (866) 466-5370.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 22, 2008
Weak Dollar Causing U.S. Students to Rethink Study Abroad
According to a recent Michigan-based report from the Associated Press, U.S.-based students have begun to rethink study abroad options in the face of a weak dollar and strong European currencies. The cost of a 10-day trip to London through Penn State-Altoona has reportedly risen to approximately $2,800, or 75 percent more than two years ago. The trip was cancelled this year as there were not enough takers.
The weak dollar, a sluggish economy and a tougher time getting some types of student loans is making it harder for some U.S. college students to study or travel abroad this summer, despite recent records in the number of students studying abroad. According to the latest figures from the annual survey by the Institute of International Education, more than 223,000 U.S. students studied abroad during the 2005-06 academic year. Most universities expect overall participation to keep rising, but that growth could be limited within some programs by the struggling dollar and other economic factors.
Universities with large study abroad programs are making changes to keep specific destinations within budget. Some smaller programs, however, are struggling to find enough students to make the trips feasible even after adjusting to cut costs. Some trends are becoming more pronounced at many universities. More students appear to be opting for shorter programs of eight weeks or less, at least partly for financial reasons. More students are picking less expensive destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica and China instead of Western Europe, where the euro and pound are just too strong for budget-conscious students.
A Central Michigan University student interviewed by the AP said that she had originally intended to study abroad this school year in Italy. Then she discovered that a four-month program in the Czech Republic would cost her about half as much, a savings of approximately $6,000 over four months. The Czech Republic has cheaper living costs than Italy, and is not yet part of the ‘euorzone.’
The typical summer, four-to-five week European study abroad program offered through Michigan State University will range from $3,000 to $4,000. That’s up $300 to $500 from last year, an increase of about 10 percent. Michigan State has one of the nation’s largest study abroad programs with more than 3,000 students participating in 2007-08. Overall numbers could continue to climb. But the university has had 136 students drop planned study abroad trips in the past month, compared to 20 in the same period last year. A third of them said finances were the main reason.
– Associated Press
May 3, 2008
Demand for Study Abroad to India Outstrips Supply
India is becoming a hot spot for U.S. students looking to study abroad, and universities in the United States are under increasing pressure to meet demand by adding more exchange programs with higher-education institutions in India, according to David C. Mulford, the U.S. Ambassador to India, in an interview with the Hindu newspaper.
“Young people [in particular] are fascinated by India,” Mr. Mulford said, addressing the news media in the southern city of Chennai in May. He said that awareness of India in the United States was growing, thanks in part to the strong Indian community there. Mr. Mulford said there were 84,000 Indian students in the United States, but only 1,700 American students in India.
Mr. Mulford said American universities were interested in expanding their ties to India, not just by bringing more Indian students to the United States, but also through the exchange of students and professors. “Down the road, U.S. universities are going to be looking at many models of cooperation, including joint award of degrees,” Mr. Mulford said.
– The Hindu
May 20, 2008