WENR, October 2011: Americas
Joint Degrees Gain Traction as a Means of Internationalizing the Campus
According to a report from the Institute of International Education, joint- and dual-degree programs are an increasingly popular way for universities to increase the internationalization of their campuses and raise their global profile. Master’s programs are the most common types of joint ventures, and universities from the United States and China the most sought-after partners.
The report, “Joint and Double-Degree Programs in the Global Context,” is based on a survey of 245 institutions of higher education in 28 countries, and according to the results of the survey, only 33 percent of responding institutions offered joint degrees, while 84 percent offered dual, or double, degrees. A joint degree typically results in a single certificate issued by the institutions involved, while in a dual-degree program, graduates receive separate certificates from each institution.
More American institutions reported offering dual-degree programs than did universities in any other country, while French institutions offered the greatest number of joint-degree programs. The most common field of study is business and management, followed by engineering. Universities in the United States were the second most sought after partner institutions after those in China.
– The Institute of International Education
EU Funds a Bologna-type Initiative in Latin America
The European Union has provided funding of EUR3.5 million to help launch a Latin American higher education harmonization project modeled on the Bologna Process.
The three-year project, known as Alfa Puentes, will see 23 umbrella organizations from across Europe and Latin America working together both to improve integration within Latin America and to improve links and mutual understanding between universities in the two continents.
One of those organizations is the Association of the Montevideo Group of Universities, most of whose member universities come from Argentina and Brazil. Its executive secretary, Álvaro Maglia, told Times Higher Education that greater integration of Latin American universities was necessary to enhance academic cooperation and to promote “a political project of regional citizenship”.
The University of Barcelona-based Observatory of European Union-Latin American Relations will act as an intermediary between the eight European and 15 Latin American participants in the project. One of the major focuses of the Alfa Puentes project will be to boost the capacity of university associations in the hope that they might spearhead the integration process.
Recognizing that integration across the entire Latin American continent is currently unrealistic, the main thrust of Alfa Puentes will be to support one major project selected by associations in each of Latin America’s three major sub-regions. The Andean Community will work on a common quality assurance regime, the Mercosur region will develop a strategy for greater internationalization and mobility, and Central America and Mexico will try to establish a qualifications framework.
All involved in the project stressed that even the specific sub-regional projects agreed upon would be very difficult to complete within the three-year funding period, and a Bologna-style process of full regional integration remained a very distant prospect.
– Times Higher Education
September 15, 2011
Brazil’s Universities Rank Well Among Latin American Universities
In the first regional ranking of Latin American universities, QS, a British company that ranks universities globally, found that Brazil has many of the best institutions on the continent, with three universities in the top 10, eight in the top 20 and the University of São Paulo (USP) as the number one institution.
The ranking combined measures of reputation, research output, academics’ qualifications and staff-student ratios. Of the 200 top universities, 65 are in Brazil, 35 in Mexico, 25 apiece in Argentina and Chile and 20 in Colombia.
In October USP won another plaudit, becoming the only Latin American university to make it into the world’s top 200 universities (178th) in the list published by Times Higher Education. It was also ranked as the top Latin American university by Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University which was released in August.
Federal Internationalization Efforts and Plans
Canada has become a key destination for international students, and in 2010 international students made up 10 percent of the tertiary student body. According to UNESCO data, the global number of international postsecondary education students increased by 77 percent between 2000 and 2009, from 2.1 to 3.7 million. In Canada, the number of international university students has more than doubled over the same period.
The gap between Canada and other major destinations for foreign students has in large part been due to the fact that governments of countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom have actively invested in education branding and marketing initiatives. Recognizing the need for a concerted Canadian strategy, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) worked last year with four other national associations to establish the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing (CCIEM), which is working to coordinate and deliver marketing activities in partnership with federal and provincial governments.
Other cross-jurisdictional initiatives over the past couple of years have seen the development of the ‘Imagine Education in/au Canada’ brand and the recent release by the Council of Ministers of Education, in partnership with provincial and territorial ministers of immigration, of a report entitled ‘Bringing Education in Canada to the World, Bringing the World to Canada: An International Education Marketing Action Plan for Provinces and Territories.’ The primary focus of the action plan is on efforts to recruit and retain international students. With the aim of moving towards a pan-Canadian international education-marketing plan, it identifies a series of actions, areas for investment and opportunities for intergovernmental collaboration. In the 2011 federal budget C$10m ($10m) was allocated over two years to develop a new international education strategy to ‘reinforce Canada as a country of choice to study and conduct world-class research.’
In November 2010, AUCC led a delegation of 15 university presidents to India. A second mission of Canadian university presidents is currently being organized to Brazil and will coincide with the Conference of the Americas on International Education in April 2012.
– Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Chinese Students Predicted to Choose Canada Over US
According to student mobility predictions by the British Council, the movement of students from China to universities in America will be partially redirected to Canada and Australia between now and 2015. Visa changes, currency fluctuations and shifting trade flows between China and other countries are likely to make the biggest impacts on overall numbers, according to a series of Students in Motion reports recently released by the British Council.
A total of approximately 300,000 Chinese students are forecast to be in the US, Canada and Australia by 2012, compared to around 270,000 now. According to econometric models drawn up by the Economist Intelligence Unit for the British Council, the number of students in the US from China will fall slightly from 127,000 in 2010 to around 120,000 in 2015.
But this will be offset by the number in Canada rising from 51,300 in 2008 to 68,100 by 2015 – an absolute increase of more than 30 percent, while Australia could see a rise from 91,600 students from China in 2010 to around 110,800 in 2015. Using econometric models that take into account various economic factors, the studies forecast that the US share of Chinese students studying abroad could decrease from around 30 percent in the last decade and over 26 percent in 2010 to around 24 percent in 2015.
This is mainly due to rising tuition fees in the US as well as deteriorating trade between the two countries. Bilateral trade has been found to be a significant predictor of overseas student flows in this and other studies. However, other factors are also in play.
“The university enrollment rate in China has grown from 6 percent in 1994 to 24 percent in 2010. This is a paramount increase of four times the number of students. But the interesting thing is that the proportion of students studying abroad has remained stable over the two decades, around 1.6 percent or 1.5 percent of the total enrolled at home, and it is predicted to decrease marginally by 2015 to 1.4 percent,” Janet Illieva, head of research and intelligence at the British Council in Hong Kong told University World News.
A current ‘bulge’ of students from China in the US is seen as the result of more relaxed visa restrictions, which had been tightened after 9/11. “The [visa] bottleneck has now been removed. We expect that next year student flows [to the US will] normalize at a slightly lower level,” Illieva said.
– University World News
September 25, 2011
B.C. Premier Announces Plan to Attract 50,000 new International Students in 4 Years
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced in September that she wants to increase the number of international students studying in her province in the next four years by 50 percent as a way to bolster the regional economy.
Clark told a news conference at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops there are currently 94,000 international students in B.C. and their presence creates 22,000 jobs and contributes C$1.25 billion (US$1.22 billion) to the economy.
“If we can meet those targets, we can put 9,000 people to work and put another $500 million into our economy,” she said.
Clark said she will create an international education council to promote B.C.’s efforts to attract overseas students, especially those from Asia, India, China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
– The Canadian Press
September 20, 2011
Western Universities Performing Better than Eastern Universities
Universities in Canada’s most populous province of Ontario have traditionally enjoyed a better reputation than those in the west of the country, but they have begun to lag behind their counterparts in Alberta and British Columbia, a higher education expert said recently.
“The intellectual center of gravity of Canada is shifting west much faster than people realize,” said Alex Usher, president of Higher Education Strategy Associates. His Toronto-based firm specializes in providing measurement systems, data collection and strategic development to a range of players in the post-secondary field, including governments, colleges and universities, and non-governmental organizations. He makes the case that Ontario has been slipping behind Alberta and British Columbia for two decades.
“Twenty years ago, you could have made a case that three or four of the top seven or eight universities in the country were in Ontario. I don’t think you could make that claim today,” he said.
The University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta and the University of Saskatchewan are all firmly recognized now as top research institutions, drawing both big academic talent — and big money, while Ontario schools such as Queen’s University in Kingston, Hamilton’s McMaster University and the universities of Waterloo and Western Ontario are finding it harder to compete.
A case in point relates to the federal government’s 19 newly created Canada Excellence Research Chairs — a C$10 million prize for leading researchers to establish ambitious programs at Canadian universities — four went to the University of Alberta, doubling the number received by the universities of Toronto and Waterloo. Queen’s didn’t get any, while the University of Ottawa got just one. Meanwhile, Vancouver’s UBC won more than $24 million in funding in 2010 for Canada Research Chairs, more than double what Queen’s, Waterloo and McMaster all received.
– Ottawa Citizen
October 3, 2011
Student Protests and Anger at Tuition Fees Continue
No country in the Latin American region has worked out satisfactorily how to share the cost of degrees between students and taxpayers. Chile’s government is currently suffering the consequences. Months of student protests, which began in May, against high tuition fees have seen the popularity of the president Sebastián Piñera plunge.
The country’s education system, from primary school to university, is probably the region’s best. But Chile also has one of world’s lowest levels of public funding for higher education, some of the longest degrees and no comprehensive system of student grants or subsidized loans.
The number of Chilean students pursuing higher education rose from 250,000 in 1990 to almost one million last year, with more than 300,000 new students enrolling just in the past five years, according to the Ministry of Education. To meet the demand, many new universities have been established, while existing ones have grown. Yet tuition fees have risen so much—top universities now charge US$8,000 a year, which exceeds the rates of all other OECD nations as a percentage of gross domestic product per capita—that even students who get good jobs have trouble paying off their debts.
October 8, 2012
United States of America
Nation’s Top 10 Community Colleges Shortlisted for Million-Dollar Prize
The Aspen program, with the help of several advisory committees picked its top 10 from a group of 120 preliminary “best” community colleges, roughly 10 percent of the nation’s two-year institutions. Aspen officials and outside researchers selected the 10 finalists for being “relentlessly focused on three non-negotiable outcomes – a high bar for learning, a focus on college completion and real attention to preparing their students for 21st century jobs.” Completion records of disadvantaged students were also weighed.
The next steps in the process include more data collection and two-day site visits for the finalists. The eventual winner, which will be announced in December, will be awarded $700,000, with three runners-up getting $100,000 each.
The initial 120 institutions were selected using an Aspen-devised formula based on information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS).
Aspen’s 10 finalists are:
- Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown, S.D.
- Miami Dade College
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Perkinston, Miss.
- Mott Community College, Flint, Mich.
- Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar
- Santa Barbara City College
- Southwest Texas Junior College, Uvalde, Tex.
- Valencia College, Orlando
- Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla, Wash.
- West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Paducah, Ky.
– Aspen Institute
September 13, 2011
Community Colleges Draw International Students with Promise of University Transfer
Community Colleges have traditionally had a hard time recruiting students from abroad, largely due to lack of knowledge about the sector and a general belief that community colleges are strictly vocational institutions.
However, one college that has been experiencing recruitment success, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education, is Green River Community College, outside Seattle, which has built up its foreign enrollments from just 200 in 1993 to more than 1,200 two decades later, 10 percent of the student body. The students come from 40 different countries.
Green River has succeeded overseas by positioning itself as a gateway to highly competitive programs in top universities across the United States. Through careful advising, well-tailored course selection, and strong relationships built over time with desirable programs and institutions, Green River sends nearly every one of its international students on to a university, in greatly sought-after programs like business and engineering.
Today there are more than 68,500 international students enrolled in associate-degree programs at American colleges, and, for the universities they transfer to, they don’t require the expense of an overseas trip to recruit. For international students who may lack the money, high-school grades, or English-language ability to be directly admitted to an American university, community colleges provide another route to a bachelor’s degree.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 11, 2011
Admissions Group Releases Comments on the Use of Agents in Recruiting Internationally
The National Association for College Admission Counseling has published an analysis of the public comments made on its proposal to ban its members from paying commissions to overseas student recruiters.
The admissions group decided to call for comments before deciding on whether or not to institute an immediate prohibition, and it has appointed a panel to recommend ethical standards for best practices in international recruitment. The summary of remarks shows how contentious the issue of agents is in international recruiting with more than half of all college-admissions officers submitting comments in opposition of a ban.
Indian and Chinese Graduates Returning Home in Increasing Numbers
Skilled immigrants are leaving the United States for their native countries in increasing numbers because of improved economic opportunities in countries like China and India, a desire to be closer to family and friends, and a deeply flawed U.S immigration system, according to a recent report.
The research paper, The Grass is Indeed Greener in India and China for Returnee Entrepreneurs, published by the Kaufmann Foundation surveyed 153 skilled immigrants who had returned to India to start companies and 111 who went back to China.
The most significant factors drawing both Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs home were economic opportunities, access to local markets, and family ties. More than 60 percent of Indian and 90 percent of Chinese returnees said the availability of economic opportunities in their countries was a major factor in their return. Seventy-eight percent of Chinese entrepreneurs were lured by the attraction of local markets, as were 53 percent of Indian entrepreneurs. And 76 percent of Indian entrepreneurs and 51 percent of Chinese entrepreneurs said it was family ties that brought them back home.
Among other findings, the report notes that 72 percent of Indian and 81 percent of Chinese returnees said that the opportunities to start their own businesses were better or much better in their home countries. The only advantage respondents typically indicated that the U.S. offered was in the salaries received—64 percent of Indian and 43 percent of Chinese respondents said the salaries had been better in the United States than they were at home.
– India Currents
July 14, 2011
Plans Announced to Streamline Visa Process
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton announced a new initiative in September to streamline the international student visa process for foreign students seeking to study in the United States.
The Study in the States initiative will examine regulatory changes, expand public engagement between the government and academia, and provide a central on-line information hub for DHS and its agency partners to provide current and prospective students with updated and relevant visa requirements in a streamlined, user-friendly format, according to a DHS news release.
Earlier this year, DHS announced an extension to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees for international student studies, allowing graduates of a STEM degree to remain in the U.S. through Optional Practical Training (OPT) for up to 29 months after graduation.
September 18, 2011
New Graduate Enrollments Decline for First Time Since 2003
The enrollment of new students in graduate programs fell 1.1 percent in 2010, the first drop since 2003, according to a study conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools. While there was a small increase of 1.5 percent in new doctoral enrollments, there was a drop of 1.6 percent in new enrollments in master’s degree and graduate certificate programs. Among international students, new enrollments were up 4.7 percent.
Nathan Bell, director of research and policy analysis for the council, said that the drop in new master’s students comes mainly from declines in new students in two master’s fields: education (down 8.1 percent) and business (down 2.9 percent). More than 40 percent of all new master’s students are in those two fields.
International students over all made up 16 percent of new graduate students in 2010, however their share in specific fields was as high as 45 percent (in engineering and computer science) and as low as 3 percent (in education).
First-Time Graduate Enrollment, by Field and Citizenship
|Social and behavioral sciences||86%||14%|
|Physical and earth sciences||71%||29%|
|Math and computer science||55%||45%|
|Biological and agricultural sciences||80%||20%|
|Arts and humanities||89%||11%|
Somewhat interestingly, the drop in new enrollments came after data showing that applications to graduate school were up a total of 8.4 percent — even in fields like education and business that showed the largest declines in new students — suggesting that some students were considering graduate programs, but then deciding against it.
– Council of Graduate Schools
CalTech Ousts Harvard as World’s Best (According to the Times, at Least)
Harvard lost its top ranking two years ago on the QS version of the global ranking and now it has lost the Times top spot, which it had held for eight years straight. However, it is still considered the best in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong, another closely watched university league table.
The California Institute of Technology climbed the list in part because of its increased spending on research. As with previous years, American institutions dominate the rankings, with 75 listed in the top 200, which is compiled by Thomson Reuters.
– Times Higher Education