WENR, June 2010: Europe
Report Reveals Impact of Recession on European Universities
A new report by the European University Association shows the impact that the global recession has had on European universities over the past two years. It concludes that the recession has had a deep impact on European systems of education, although not uniformly so. Those universities that rely on public financing – the vast majority – have seen big cuts in government spending, which has taken a heavy toll in many countries, says the report, “Impact of the Economic Crisis on European Universities.”
Thomas Estermann, the report’s author, said in May that, “more and more countries are resorting to cuts in public funding going to higher education and research.”
Mr. Estermann is the head of the unit for governance, autonomy, and funding at the European University Association, and the report is part of the association’s project on European Universities Diversifying Income Streams. The report singles out Latvia, which has come under pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank “to reduce drastically public funding of higher education,” for some of the most severe measures. An initial cut of 48 percent in higher-education spending at the beginning of last year was followed by 18 percent in additional cuts this year.
Britain, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, and Romania are cited for imposing what the report calls “heavy cuts” ranging from 5 to 10 percent. Cuts of up to 5 percent have been seen in many countries in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, including Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Poland, and Serbia.
France and Germany, continental Europe’s dominant economies, are notable exceptions. Both countries have announced major new commitments to higher education and research. For many higher-education systems, the extent of the impact of the crisis is still uncertain, in part because of “the delay with which cuts in public spending translate into higher-education budgets,” and also because new austerity measures are still being announced.
A major impact of the recession and subsequent cuts, according to the report, has been on how European universities go about financing themselves, with a realization that they cannot afford to rely financially on governments to the extent they have in the past.
“A lot of institutions across Europe are looking actively to diversify their funding, through collaborations with business and industry, research collaborations, philanthropic funding, or even using their facilities to create income,” Mr. Estermann said. “What is very clear,” though, he added, is that universities “will never be able to replace immediately the large budget cuts that have been introduced in public funding.”
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 25, 2010
– European Universities Association
May 20, 2010
Ministry Unveils Study Abroad Plan
The Danish Ministry of Education has published a strategy designed to increase the outgoing mobility of Danish students. Full details of the initiative, which will be implemented from this year, are available from the ministry website at www.uvm.dk/mobility.
– Ministry of Education
May 3, 2010
French Business School to Open US Campus
One of France’s largest business schools has announced plans to begin operations on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh. The Skema Business School said in May that it would be bringing 300 students across the Atlantic in January of next year to learn American business practices. The school hopes to have its own 40,000 square foot building open by 2013.
Current Skema plans envision an eventual enrollment of 600 foreign students at its North Carolina campus. It plans to offer dual degrees with NCSU and to conduct research projects with professors and students at area universities.
Skema was created last June through the merger of the Ceram Business School in Paris and the ESC Lille School of Management. Skema has 138 professors and three campuses in France. It also has campuses in China and Morocco and is planning to open campuses in India and Brazil. Skema already has an agreement with UNC-Chapel Hill for faculty and student exchanges, the school said, and is in advanced discussions to establish a relationship with Duke University.
It also has an agreement with the Research Triangle Park (RTP) in Raleigh to foster research projects between Skema faculty and students and RTP’s high-tech companies, including Cisco Systems, SAS Institute, Red Hat, IBM and Lenovo, according to its announcement.
In a similar move, Spain’s top-ranked IESE Business School opened a North American location in New York in early June at the school’s six-story New York Center. The IESE location will offer elective courses to students coming from the school’s campus in Barcelona.
– Skema news release
May 18, 2010
France Boasts Most Mobile Students in Europe
The Germans are no longer the most mobile students in Europe, a position they have held since 2003/04. The French now claim that title, with more than 28,00 students traveling abroad under the European Union’s flagship Erasmus program, an increase of 9 percent.
A total of 180,000 European students travel abroad each year to study under the program at more than 4,000 institutions of higher education in the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Croatia and Macedonia signed up at the end of 2009. The program has been running since 1987 and since that date more than two million Erasmus students have spent a period outside their home countries studying. The European Commission has a goal of surpassing three million by 2012.
Most recent figures from the European Commission show that while students from countries with big populations – France, Germany and the UK – registered the greatest numbers studying abroad, those sending most Erasmus students as a share of the student population were Liechtenstein (6.43%), Austria (1.77%) and the Czech Republic (1.54%).
The most popular host countries were Spain, France, Germany and the UK.
– University World News
June 13, 2010
University Group Warns that Tuition Fees Will Need to Rise if British Universities are to Remain Competitive
Student fees will have to rise if Britain is to keep its world-class reputation in higher education, the Russell Group of 20 elite universities has warned. In its submission to a governmental review committee, the group predicts its members could be faced with an overall deficit of more than £1.1bllion (US$1.6 billion) by 2012-13. However, it does not recommend a big increase in overseas student fees.
In a 46-page submission to Lord Browne’s review of higher education funding, commissioned by the outgoing Labour government, the Russell Group says universities will be forced to make significant cost reductions. It says these are likely to involve reducing staff numbers and cutting back on infrastructure investments.
“An increase in graduate contributions is the only viable and fair way to secure the future of the UK’s world class higher education system and the universities’ vital role in educating a workforce for the global economy,” said Wendy Piatt, Director General of the group.
Members of the group say the current funding system does not allow research-intensive universities access to sufficient resources to remain internationally competitive. The group says that fees paid by international students have become an increasingly important source of income for UK universities in recent years. There have been suggestions that increasing income by raising overseas student fees might make up the shortfall in public funding.
But the scale of deficit is such that eliminating it would require a yearly increase of more than 200% in income from international students. “Even the most optimistic projections on international student income would fall far short of this level,” the submission says. “Russell Group universities might be able to increase revenues by raising fees from international students, but pushing such a strategy too far could be risky, endangering the reputation of UK universities overseas and ultimately placing in jeopardy the stability of the UK international student market.”
– University World News
May 23, 2010
University Ranking Suggests Newer Universities are Making Inroads on Older Universities
Those universities established after 1992 are beginning to ride the rankings and out-position older, more established universities according to recent results from this years Complete University Guide, prdocued in association with The Independent newspapaer.
While Oxford continues to head the rankings for the third year running, with Cambridge and Imperial College London again in second and third place respectively, there has been movement in the middle ranks. Lancaster University, for example, has risen from 12th to eighth place in the 2011 league table because of an improvement in its student satisfaction score and because graduate prospects are better as shown in the numbers getting graduate jobs or undertaking further study six months after leaving university.
King’s College London has also risen four places, to 13th position. And Sussex has risen from 25th to 19th position, largely because of student satisfaction scores and spending on academic services, such as IT and libraries, and facilities such as sports centers and student venues. Despite poor research scores, Britain’s first private university, Buckingham, was ranked 20 th in its first year of inclusion.
The ranking measures how universities perform on a range of nine indicators including research quality, entry standards, staff/student ratio, spending on academic services such as libraries, spending on facilities such as function rooms and health centers, good degree results, job prospects, degree results and the National Student Survey, which measures student satisfaction with their learning.
Although Oxford was in top place, Cambridge beat it when it came to the subject tables, which measure only four things – student satisfaction, research quality, entry standards and graduate prospects. Cambridge comes top in 27 of the 46 subjects it teaches.
The Complete University Guide can be viewed in its entirety here.
– The Indpendent
British Universities Raise Record Funds from Private Donors
Considering recent government budget cuts in university funding, the news that universities are raising record amounts from privtae donors must come as a welcome relief. D onations to British universities totaled more than half a billion pounds (US$720 million) in the academic year 2008-9, according to a new survey of charitable giving to higher-education institutions.
This record figure was raised from an all-time high of 163,000 individual donors, the survey found. The analysis is an annual look at higher-education philanthropy in Britain, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Ross Group and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education‘s Europe branch.
Meanwhile, the value of new pledges decreased significantly, by £532 million, or $763 million. Those pledges are commitments of money or art work and other non-cash items given over several years. Joanna Motion, vice president for international operations at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, said that decline followed an unusually good year with several unusually large donations.
British universities now rely on donations for the equivalent of 2.3 percent of their total expenditure. However, the report notes that the distribution of philanthropic gifts remains “highly skewed,” with the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford accounting for 51 percent of all philanthropic cash income. The other 18 members of the Russell Group, Britain’s top research-intensive universities, account for an additional 24 percent. A matching program that rewards institutions in England and Wales with $1 in government money for every $2 they raise is considered to have played a significant role in encouraging the newfound philanthropy since it went into effect in 2008. The program is scheduled to end next year.
– Ross-Case Survey
May 26, 2010
For Every 25 Students Coming into the UK, Just 1 Goes the Other Way
According to a new analysis of academic mobility trends into and out of the United Kingdom, there is a 25:1 imbalance in the number of British students choosing to study abroad, compared to those coming to the UK, according to the British Council.
The message from the head of the British Council echoes a 2008 report by Sir Drummond Bone, former vice chancellor of the University of Liverpool, which said the perception that internationalization was “just about making money” for universities in the United Kingdom could threaten the sector’s reputation overseas.
Martin Davidson, the British Council’s chief executive, said that about 500,000 international students come to the UK each year, while the flow in the other direction was between 15,000 and 20,000. Of those who do venture overseas from British universities, the majority are studying a modern language, he added.
Davidson said that a “language deficit” was inhibiting British students, but that it was up to both businesses and universities to prove the value of a semester abroad.
– The Times Higher
June 3, 2020
British Researchers Climb the Citations Rankings
According to recently released figures, the average number of citations of British research papers is now almost as high as that gained by U.S. papers, according to new figures.
The data, produced by Thomson Reuters for the Times Higher Education, rank each of the G7 countries in 20 scientific subjects based on the average number of times each paper produced in that country was cited between 2005 and 2009. The U.K. is first in six subjects and is no lower than third in any. The U.S. is top in 10 subjects, but its average rank is only slightly higher than the U.K.’s. Japan is the lowest-ranked G7 country on average.
For a ranking by field, see here.
– Times Higher Education
June 10, 2010