WENR, February 2012: Europe


European Business Students Eschewing U.S. Schools for Those Closer to Home

The number of business schools is multiplying annually, and those in the United States have been seeing their market share slip in recent years. In 2011 that trend continued with a growing number of students in Europe pursuing options closer to home. That’s according to a report released in February by the Graduate Management Admission Council [1].

The report compared the number of people taking the council’s Graduate Management Admission Test in 2007 and 2011 and examined trends in where they were sending their scores. Among the other findings: Middle Eastern citizens are sending more scores to programs in the United States, and those in East and Southeast Asia are applying in many different parts of the world. The percentage of test scores being sent to schools in the United States dipped from 83 percent in 2007 to 77 percent in 2011, while the number of test takers outside the U.S. rose to 55 percent.

– Graduate Management Admissions Council
February 2012

European Cities Top the Student Living Rankings

While U.S. universities dominate global university rankings, when it comes to the cities they are located in the U.S. doesn’t fair so well. So says a recent ranking of the world’s best student cities. The ranking is based on indicators for quality of life, affordability and universities’ academic reputation.

The ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds, the same research organization behind the annual QS World University Rankings [2], found Paris to be the world’s best student city, closely followed by London. Boston topped the rankings in the U.S., placing third overall, followed by Chicago (15th), San Francisco (17th) and New York (18th). Montreal (10th) topped the list in Canada, while Mexico City (31st) took Latin American honors.

Six European cities are in the top 10, while Singapore (12th) is the leading Asian city ahead of Hong Kong (19th) and Tokyo (19th). Australia is the only country with two cities (Melbourne 4th and Sydney 6th) in the top 10.

The methodology of the QS survey can be seen here [3].

QS [4]
February 2012


British University to Open Campus

The first UK university campus in Cyprus is set to begin classes this fall. The University of Central Lancashire [5] (UCLan) has announced it will open a new campus in Pyla, in the Larnaca district on the eastern side of the island, in October. Programs are expected to be offered in business and management, law, computing and mathematics, all taught in English, with degrees awarded by UCLan. Target enrollment is 5,000 students within five years.  The announcement of the Cyprus campus comes just weeks after UCLan announced it had signed an agreement to open a private university campus in Bangkok in 2014.

The Independent [6]
February 9, 2012


German Universities Welcome Foreign Students, Despite Cost

Germany’s government remains willing to generously subsidize foreign students studying on their campuses and at universities Germany helped create in developing countries, despite the economic burden of doing so and despite the economic turmoil currently embroiling Europe.

After the United States and Britain, Germany is close to being tied for third place with France, China, and Australia in the number of foreign students it attracts. However, unlike some of those other countries, Germany does not seek to attract foreign students for financial gain and to subsidize domestic students. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, there is little discussion among politicians, higher-education professionals, or taxpayers, about attempting to capitalize.

Instead, the internationalization of higher education in Germany is focused on the benefits it confers on both foreign and German students, German universities, and society as a whole. The country has, for the most part, continued to subscribe to the once dominant European notion that higher education is a public good, to be financed from the public purse. Even Germany’s handful of international branch campuses, such as the Vietnamese-German University [7] and the German Jordanian University [8], are driven by a desire to help develop the host nations’ educational capacity.

The issue of tuition fees is a politically sensitive one in Germany, even for foreign students, as many see the imposition of tuition fees for international students as a potential gateway for similar fees on domestic students. Fees were vehemently opposed in 2005 when Germany’s constitutional court controversially ruled that universities could charge them. The issue became such a point of contention that some of the states that enacted fees have since revoked them.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [9]
January 15, 2012

German Universities Almost Entirely Finished with Structural Bologna Reforms

According to a new government report, the German switch to the two-tier bachelor and masters system is largely complete, with positive impacts including greater mobility, access and graduate employment being seen as a result.

The Bologna process is intended to make academic degree and quality assurance standards more compatible across Europe and globally while boosting performance, the desired result of the process being a European Higher Education Area [10] (EHEA) with greater mobility and better achievement.

According to the latest government report, 85 percent of the more than 15,000 degree programs in Germany are now offered under the two-tier structure. This compares to 75 percent three years ago.

University World News [11]
February 12, 2012


Chinese University to Establish Campus in Florence

Following a diplomatic visit to China, city officials from Florence announced in November that within two years, a university for Chinese students will open in the popular Italian tourist town. According to a more recent article in University Word News, it now appears that a branch campus of the University of Ningbo will begin enrolling students as soon as September in temporary facilities.

It will be the first such branch in Italy. According to current plans, the campus would begin operations with just two professors and 20 students, with expansion to follow. Florence and Ningbo have been ‘sister cities’ since 2008.

The Florence municipal council has agreed to provide the physical structure for the campus; operational costs will be the responsibility of Ningbo, which enrolls 23,000 students in China. Initial programs will be focused on art and culture, with additional English-language classes also offered. China is currently the second largest source of foreign university students in Italy, after Albanians. Chinese students numbered 5,269 in 2010, up from just 74 in 2003.

The Florentine [12]
November 25, 2011
–  University World News [13]
January 22, 2012


Putin: Education in Russia Undergoing a Revolution

According to an article written by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and published in January in the Izvestia Daily, “educational revolution” is transforming Russia’s society and economy.

“Russia’s main hope is a high level of education, especially for our young people,” Putin wrote.

Fifty-seven percent of Russians between the ages of 25 and 35 have received tertiary training, a level matched only by Japan, South Korea and Canada, Putin said in the article. Mr. Putin added that in the 15-25 age group, 80 percent of young men and women aspire to or are receiving higher education.

Sounding a note of caution, he warned that the Russian economy is at times unable to absorb so many professionals. In August of last year, the prime minister called for an urgent modernization of Russia’s higher education system in order that it can meet the demands of a modern economy, promising to allocate an additional 70 billion rubles (US$2.4 billion) to help rebuild a new innovative educational infrastructure in the next five years. Higher education budget expenditures have more than tripled since 2005, reaching 390 billion rubles (almost $14.5 billion) in 2011.

RIA Novosti [14]
January 16, 2012


Diploma Mills Proliferating

Ever since Swedish universities began charging tuition to students from outside the European Union last year, the country has seen a significant increase in the number of diploma mills operating there, according to the English-language online publication The Local.

Lennart Ståhle of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education [15] told a newspaper quoted by The Local that “they are using our good name, as Sweden is seen as a trustworthy country to study in.” However, Mr. Ståhle stated that because the bogus institutions are not claiming to offer Swedish qualifications, there was little that the NAHE could do to prevent them from operating.

The Local [16]
January 31, 2012

International Graduate Applications Rise in Second Year After Imposition of Fees

Applicants for international masters programs in Sweden for 2012-13 are up 24 percent versus last year, at 31,223. But this is significantly lower than before Sweden introduced tuition fees for students from outside the European Economic Area.

Swedish universities now have three strategic objectives: to broaden the number and quality of applicants from Europe who do not have to pay tuition fees; to compete globally for tuition fee-eligible students; and to recruit more Swedish students to the programs. Currently one in four applicants for international masters studies do not have to pay tuition fees thanks to government and institutional grant programs.

Lund University [17] in the south of Sweden has received most applicants with 11,160 (a 23 percent increase on 2011-12), followed by Stockholm University [18] (6,444, up 30 percent), KTH-Royal Technological University [19], Stockholm (5,304, up 3.3 percent), Chalmers Technological University [20] (4,355, up 7.8 percent), and Linköping University [21] (4,355, up 34.7 percent).

Stockholm Rector Kåre Bremer believes the increase in international applications is the result of an extensive marketing campaign at several universities abroad, in particular in China and the United States. Most applicants are from the UK, Germany, China, Bangladesh and the U.S., in that order, and the most popular field is economics.

University World News [22]
February 5, 2012

United Kingdom

Popularity of British Degrees Outside Britain Soars

According to statistics published in January [23], the number of people studying outside the United Kingdom for a British higher education qualification rose by 23 percent last year, accounting for one-sixth of all students (British and foreign) taking British degrees.

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency [24] (HESA) show that 503,795 students at British institutions “studied wholly overseas” in 2010-11, up sharply from 408,685 in 2009-10 and 388,135 in 2008-09. These programs are generally cheaper than those delivered in Britain, while also allowing students to save on living costs and avoid visa hassles. Total enrollment in Britain was 2.5 million in 2010-11.

The delivery method for what HESA categorizes as “transnational education” includes programs at overseas branch campuses, franchised British degree programs delivered by overseas institutions, and distance learning. Branch campuses accounted for a small proportion of students studying wholly overseas: 12,315 in 2010-11, up from 11,410 in 2009-10. Easily the most popular route to a British qualification overseas is through a registered overseas partner institution. In 2010-11, 291,595 students were enrolled in these types of programs, up from 207,805 the previous year.

Inside Higher Ed [25]
January 19, 2012

Private-Universities Plan Abandoned

Britain’s coalition government has dropped plans to reform Britain’s university system that would have encouraged more private companies to compete to educate students at the university level.

A higher education bill, which was to be introduced in the current parliamentary session, has now been delayed indefinitely and is unlikely to be published before 2015. The new legislation was designed to make it easier for private colleges, including big American education companies, to set up new universities in Britain.

David Willetts, the higher education minister, had hoped that introducing more competition, together with tougher regulation of universities, would help drive down costs for students while increasing standards. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph last month, almost 500 professors claimed that giving profit-making companies more access to state funding risked leading to higher student dropout rates and lower academic standards.

The Telegraph [26]
January 23, 2012

University Applications Drop in Britain

Domestic university applications have fallen by 8.7 percent across the UK, official figures show, with those in England falling further still. Statistics [27] from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service [28] (UCAS) reveal the number of UK applicants dropped from 506,488 to 462,507 – a decrease of 43,881. The drop comes ahead of a trebling of maximum tuition fees this fall to £9,000 (US$14,000).

Applications from English students fell most precipitously, decreasing by 9.9 percent from 426,208 to 384,170 – a drop of 42,038. The number of Scottish applicants, who will not pay fees if they study in Scotland, fell by just 1.5 percent – down from 39,761 last year to 39,109 for 2012 entry. Applicants from Northern Ireland fell by 4.4 percent, while the fall was just 1.9 percent for Welsh students. Overall, the total decline in applicants to UK universities was 7.4 percent – down from 583,546 in the 2011 cycle to 540,073. There was a 13.7 percent rise in applicants from non-EU countries, while EU applicants fell by 11.2 percent.

However, according to a UCAS spokesperson, “applications are already 50,000 ahead of the number of acceptances in 2011,” suggesting that despite the decline in applications all places will be filled in 2012.

Times Higher Education [29]
January 30, 2012

High-Earning Foreign Graduates Allowed to Stay Under New Visa Guidelines

The British student-visa system is undergoing a major overhaul, with new regulations impacting students’ ability to stay and work in the United Kingdom after graduating. However, under the new rules, foreign students will be allowed to remain if they have graduated from a university and have an offer for a job paying at least £20,000 ($31,500), from a “reputable employer” accredited by the national border-protection agency.

Britain’s new post-graduation employment rules were among several modifications announced in February by the nation’s immigration minister, Damian Green. Universities have raised concerns over the extent to which the government’s immigration crackdown is concentrating on students, who they insist should not be treated as migrants.

The elimination of the existing post-study work program, which gave students two years to remain in Britain to look for jobs after their programs ended, had already been announced. The “more selective” measures that will replace it are intended “to enable the brightest and best graduates to stay and work in the U.K.,” according to a government statement. There are further stipulations that will also allow graduate entrepreneurs to stay in country for 12 months (with the option for a further one-year extension) if sponsored by an institution of higher education.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [30]
February 14, 2012

Visa Changes Hitting Private-College Sector Hard

According to a recent report, private higher education colleges in the UK face being “devastated” by the government’s tightening of visa regulations for overseas students.

In the report, CentreForum – a public policy think tank – calls for the reversal of the Tier 4 student visa reforms, which prohibit international students enrolled on higher education programs at private colleges from working part time. Since these controls were introduced in 2011, enrollment numbers are estimated to have dropped by around 70 percent. One private institution, Cavendish College London, has already closed, while others face being taken over by public universities.

The report, Tier 4 tears: how government student visa controls are destroying the private HE sector, recommends that the government should give Tier 4 visa applicants on higher education programs at private colleges the same working rights as those studying at public universities; that Tier 4 international students should be treated as temporary visitors rather than permanent migrants, and should be excluded from the government’s net migration figures.

Times Higher Education [31]
January 30, 2012

Further Education Colleges to Offer More Degree Programs

Further education colleges will be offering a greater number of degrees under plans that will see colleges awarded funding for thousands of places previously held by universities, and now reserved for lower-cost institutions.

Universities Minister David Willetts has announced that about half of the allocation of 20,000 lower-cost places will be in further education colleges. Places were reserved for institutions with fees of £7,500 (US$11,870) per year or less. It will mean 143 further education colleges receive extra degree places.

Ministers are announcing that they will fund about 9,500 degree places for college-based programs beginning this fall out of the 20,000 held back for lower-cost programs. This will mean that there will be about 19,000 fewer places in the university system than for last autumn’s intake. Application figures from the UCAS, the central admissions service, showed that university programs were still going to be heavily oversubscribed this year, despite the increase in fees being introduced this year.

The BBC [32]
February 2, 2012