WENR, July 2013: Americas
Brazilian Universities Top Regional Ranking
Four Brazilian universities were listed among the top ten in Latin America and 11 among the top 30, according to a regional ranking released in May. The University of Sao Paulo is considered the best in Latin America for the third time in a row, according to the 2013 university ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
The other three Brazilian universities among the top 10 were State University of Campinas (3rd), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (8th) and Federal University of Minas Gerais (10th). All four are public universities.
Ranking indicators include academic reputation, reputation among employers, faculty/student ratio, proportion of staff with PhDs, research papers per faculty, citations per paper, and web presence. Employers identified graduates of the University of Sao Paulo as “the most sought-after in the region” and it is also the top institution for web presence, the report said.
Of the top 300 Latin American universities on the QS list, Brazil had 81, followed by Mexico with 49, Colombia 42, Chile and Argentina with 30 each, and Peru 17. On a global level, the University of Sao Paulo was ranked 139th in the latest QS World University Ranking, while State University of Campinas stood was 228th.
– Top Universities
May 29, 2013
Canada Struggles to Retain Foreign PhD Holders
Although there has been a more than twofold increase in the number of international PhD students in Canada in the past five years (up to 1,395 in 2010/11), highly educated immigrants face worse job prospects than their Canadian-born counterparts. This may be cause for many to leave the country in the long term, reports University World News.
The strong recent growth in international doctoral candidates in Canada is directly attributable to the creation of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship scheme, launched in 2009 and offering $50,000 three-year scholarships to up to 500 candidates a year. To date 660 have been awarded. Changes to immigration rules in 2011 allowing for permanent residency under the Skilled Worker Programme have also proved popular.
Nonetheless, major hurdles continue to exist for skilled immigrants. Foreign PhDs who graduated in 2005 were less likely than Canadian-born graduates to have definite plans for employment or post-doctoral studies after graduation. And those who did find a job earned about $5,000 less annually than their Canadian-born peers.
A 2011 report for the Ministry of Industry addressed concerns about where graduates lived and worked after their doctoral studies. A fifth of all doctoral students intended to leave Canada after completing their degree, with 57 percent planning to move to the United States.
Despite data indicating that international PhD holders do not leave Canada at a different rate than domestic graduates within two years of graduation, there is evidence that in the long term, foreign-born PhD graduates are more likely to leave Canada. A 2008 Ryerson University study reported that 40 percent of immigrants who enter Canada as part of the skilled labor or business class left within 10 years.
A cursory review of media coverage of the issue suggests that, anecdotally, many immigrants leave after years of frustration with underemployment, income disparity and weak prospects for advancement. This can partly be attributed to discrimination. A study by University of Toronto economist Philip Oreopoulos sheds light on the problem. He sent thousands of résumés to posted job openings and found that applicants with an Anglophone name were twice as likely to receive a response as those with a Chinese or Indian name.
– University World News
May 18, 2013
Unrest in Chile Precipitates Fall in University Rankings
Turmoil in Chile’s universities during 2011-12 may lie behind the relatively poor performance of the country’s universities in the third annual QS University Rankings for Latin America, published in May, postulates University World News.
Chilean students have since 2011 been staging protests for free, high quality education. Demonstrations in the capital Santiago and other cities in early May represented the second nationwide protests this year.
More than half of the country’s universities – 17 out of 30 – in the top 300 have fallen in the table compared to last year, including four of the top five. And two institutions, Universidad de Santiago de Chile and Universidad de Concepción, have dropped out of the top 10.
Elsewhere, faculty-student ratios have deteriorated in relation to the rest of the region, while the unrest may also account for a general decline in the number of employers targeting graduates.
Meanwhile, Brazil and Mexico are enjoying a growing global influence. Brazil has four universities in the top 10 and 81 in the top 300 – far more than any other nation. And the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) received top ranking based on academic reputation alone. Similarly, Columbia is gaining traction in the region, with eight of its 10 leading institutions improving their positions compared to 2012.
– University World News
May 31, 2013
Widening Achievement Gap Hurts U.S. Competitiveness, Report Says
The United States’ global competitiveness is suffering in part because recent policies at all levels of education have widened the achievement gap between rich and poor, according to a report released in June by the Council on Foreign Relations.
The report says that stalled expansion of access to community colleges and student-loan repayment plans that favor wealthy borrowers have perpetuated a class divide, increased dropout rates, and curbed college attainment.
“The concrete changes that have been made to federal postsecondary policy—new debt forgiveness and tax breaks—have tilted a game field that was already in favor of wealthier students even more so, all at a cost to taxpayers,” the report says.
As a result, the percentage of 25- to 34-year-old Americans who have completed college has fallen to 13th in the world, while older Americans earned college degrees at a rate that put the country third internationally. The slip puts the country’s national security at risk, the council warns.
The council blames the lack of progress partly on the Obama administration’s inability to push its education agenda through Congress. For instance, though Mr. Obama has called for spending up to $37 billion on community colleges, Congress has appropriated only $2 billion.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 18, 2013
New Frontiers: U.S. Students Pursuing Degrees Abroad
New Frontiers: U.S. Students Pursuing Degrees Abroad, a new report from the Institute of International Education (IIE), presents findings from a two-year analysis of key destinations and fields of study of U.S. students who choose to pursue degree programs abroad.
The data comes from a survey on U.S. students enrolled overseas in degree-seeking programs between May and April 2013. Data on U.S. degree students was received for 14 countries from Project Atlas partners representing four world regions: Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America. The countries that submitted data include the largest host of U.S. degree-seeking students, the United Kingdom, and a dozen other countries that host 100 or more U.S. degree-seeking students.
According to this report, of the more than 46,500 U.S. students who pursue full degrees abroad, about 84 percent are enrolled in bachelor’s or master’s degrees and 16 percent are pursuing doctoral degrees. The top fields for degree study by U.S. students abroad are the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. Field preferences vary by level of study and host country.
The tens of thousands of students documented in New Frontiers: U.S. Students Pursuing Degrees Abroad are in addition to the number of U.S. students who receive academic credit for study abroad from institutions in the U.S., which is reported and published annually by IIE in its Open Doors Report.
– Institute of International Education
Americans Still Lead in Number of Degrees, But Gap is Closing
More Americans than ever have earned bachelor’s degrees, putting them ahead of international rivals, but the gap is narrowing, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Education.
The department’s annual Condition of Education report, which tracks all levels of education, finds that the percentage of American 25- to 29-year-olds with at least bachelor’s degrees has climbed from 28 percent to 32 percent in the 10 years ending in 2010.
But while more young Americans than their counterparts in other developed countries have at least bachelor’s degrees, their lead has shrunk from 12 percentage points to 4 percentage points in the last 10 years as rival nations increase their production of graduates. Meanwhile, enrollment in American universities fell in 2011, the report shows, and of those who do enter four-year colleges, only 59 percent complete their degrees within six years. This drop in enrollment can be attributed to rising loan debt and loan delinquency, the report posits.
– The Hechinger Report
May 23, 2013
Number of British Students Studying in the U.S. on the Rise
The majority of top U.S. universities are reporting a rise in the number of places awarded to students from Britain the last 12 months, according to data obtained by the Telegraph newspaper.
The Fulbright Commission said a record 9,186 British students took university courses in the U.S. in 2011/12 – the latest available figures – but it anticipated that numbers would be up in 2012/13.
According to Lauren Welch, director of marketing at the US-UK Fulbright Commission “The flexibility offered by the liberal arts curriculum, the quality and reputation of US institutions and the opportunity to experience campus life remain the top reasons why UK students pursue US study.”
Others point to recent tuition hikes as an impetus for seeking degrees abroad. According to Andrew Halls, head of King’s College School, Wimbledon, “the full impact of the new fees structure has yet to hit home and I can see a time when people will come away from universities in the UK with a large debt and wondering if it was really worthwhile,” he said. “I imagine there will start to be more of a willingness to look travel, particularly with this view that you get better value for money overseas.”
– The Telegraph
June 4, 2013