WENR, April 2014: Americas
New Pathways Provider to Open Campus Centers in U.S. and Brazil
The U.S.-based education company Bridge has announced it will begin offering pathway programs by opening four centers on university campuses in the United States and Brazil, preparing international students for study at U.S. universities.
Tapping into the demand for short-term study abroad from Latin America, Bridge Pathways will also assist its U.S. university partners with international student recruitment and facilitate partnerships with foreign institutions.
Bridge has entered into strategic partnerships with Colorado Mesa University (CMU), Chadron State College (CSC) in Nebraska, Philadelphia University (PhilaU) and Instituto Universitario de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ) in Rio de Janeiro.
The focus on expansion in Latin America builds on the company’s established operations in the region. Owner of Bridge, Jean Marc Alberola, told The PIE News that the region has been relatively untapped until now.
“There’s a misconception that the Brazilian market is like China or Saudi Arabia where Brazilian students are seeking to study in the U.S. for the full four years and that’s not the case,” he explained. Alberola says the key to opening up the “new frontier in Latin America” is focusing on volume of short-term undergraduate programs in the price sensitive countries of the region.
The pathway market is becoming increasingly congested with news in February that British pathway provider INTO announced its fifth partnership with a university in the United States. Berlitz-owned ELS opened its first international pathway in France in 2012 and Cambridge Education Group opened pathways in Boston and Amsterdam that same year.
The PIE News
February 28, 2014
Brazil: New University City to Open in Rainforest
Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, is an urban metropolis surrounded by more than 5 million sq km of rainforest, the largest expanse of jungle in the world. But later this year, the Manaus-Iranduba Bridge will lead to a new university city across the Negro river in the middle of the forest.
An ambitious project now under way, supported by $128 million in initial funding, will provide a new central campus for the University of the State of Amazonas (UEA), testimony to seemingly unstoppable growth in the region.
Following its creation in 2001 from the vocationally focused University of Technology of Amazonas, the publicly funded university expanded to 57 of the 62 municipalities across the state, reaching some of the remotest parts of the country. In less than 15 years, it has outgrown its outdated buildings and now requires new infrastructure.
The new Cidade Universitária (university city) will offer a base for the biggest multi-campus university in Brazil, uniting the current five sites in Manaus. The project will also involve increasing the university’s satellite campuses from a current tally of nine.
The new campus, plans for which were announced in July 2012 by state governor Omar Aziz, will be home to the university’s academic departments, as well as residential facilities for 2,000 students, a teaching hospital, a technology center and facilities that will be used as an Olympic Village in 2016.
The lecturers’ union at the neighboring Federal University of Amazonas, a publicly funded institution in Manaus, has criticized plans for the new UEA campus on the grounds of its environmental impact and the projected displacement of almost 400 people living near the site of the new development. But the Amazonas state government said the master plan had taken account of environmental and geographical concerns, and that the new university city would address problems posed by the region’s challenging geography.
In addition to the new campus, the university city will include a resort hotel, leisure complexes and tourist attractions, and will be home to a planned 25,000 people. Meanwhile, another 17 centers in the interior of Amazonas state will be built to serve remote areas, bringing the total number of satellite campuses to 26.
Times Higher Education
February 27, 2014
Canada: New Student Visa Regulations Confirmed
The Canadian government published revised regulations for its International Student Program (ISP) in February, with new rules set to come into force in June 2014. The major change under the amended regulations is that only students enrolled at designated institutions in Canada will now be able to apply for a student visa.
Importantly, each province or territory in Canada will now be responsible for designating which institutions are eligible to receive international students. So far only British Columbia, Canada’s leading destination for international students, has formally announced its intentions with respect to the designation process. British Columbia will require that all tertiary institutions wishing to host visa-holding international students hold Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation by the end of 2015
The EQA is a quality assurance mechanism specific to British Columbia, and it is the only such designation in Canada. The process by which institutions will be designated in other provinces or territories is not yet clear. The Canadian government anticipates an extended “grandfathering” period for international students enrolled at non-designated institutions as of June 2014.
The second major change under the new regulations is with respect to opportunities for international students to work in Canada during their studies. Under the new regulations, all international students with a Canadian study permit will now be automatically authorized “to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need to apply for a separate work permit.” However, the student must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate. This essentially shuts out language students from working while studying, something Languages Canada is lobbying the government to change.
The government impact statement anticipates a modest decrease in international student entries to Canada in the first year of implementation in 2015, noting, “this will be in part because non-genuine international students may be deterred from applying to study in Canada as a result of stricter rules, or because students undertake short-term studies as visitors if the institution to which they have been accepted has not been designated to receive international students.”
The statement goes on to note that, “after the initial year, however, international student entries to Canada are expected to increase, given that Canada will be a more attractive study destination as a result of both new facilitative measures and the ability for institutions, provinces and territories, and [the Canadian government] to market a quality Canadian education experience with greater confidence. It is also expected that there may be, over the longer term, an increase in approval rates and processing times for study permit applications, given increased confidence on the part of CIC officers regarding the educational institutions to which students are destined.”
February 17, 2014
Children of Immigrants Twice as Likely to Attend College
According to a study by Statistics Canada, young Canadians with immigrant backgrounds are almost twice as likely to go to university as students whose parents were born in Canada.
The study’s hard numbers confirm impressions obtained on Canada’s major urban university campuses, where visible minorities tend to prevail on honor rolls and in business, science and engineering programs.
“Students with immigrant backgrounds in Canada display a significant advantage regarding university attendance,” write Garnett Picot, of Queen’s University, and Feng Hou of the University of Victoria, the two authors of the study.
The Picot and Hou study, which is supported by emerging research across Canada and the United States, highlights an awkward reality for governments and school officials. Public officials are still formally required to channel energy into affirmative action programs for visible minorities, English-as-a-second language students and immigrants. But these studies show it is the students with Canadian parents who are falling behind.
February 21, 2014
First Ever Mexico-Based Branch Campus of U.S. University to Open
A new branch campus of Arkansas State University will be constructed in Mexico, reportedly the first such campus of a public U.S. university in Mexico.
An event to celebrate the coming of the new campus was funded by the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Education (AIEM), which said it had acquired property for the new development near Queretaro that will also include commercial, residential and recreational components. AIEM is a formally registered non-profit body involved in all operations necessary to support Arkansas State University’s plans in Mexico: it will finance and build the campus, ensuring that the American university will have no liabilities in the country.
Expected to be open for classes in 2015, the new campus will incorporate the Arkansas State brand and logo as well as the university’s curriculum. Teaching will be in English by faculty approved by Arkansas State. The first phase of academic space will accommodate up to 5,000 students, with a goal of 1,000 students in the first year.
Arkansas State University news release
February 20, 2014
United States: IIE Launches Initiative to Double Study Abroad Numbers By 2020
The Institute of International Education launched Generation Study Abroad in March, a five-year initiative that brings leaders in education, business, and governments together to double the number of U.S. college students studying abroad. At the time of launch, IIE had already identified more than 150 lead partners who had committed to specific, measurable actions designed to help reach this ambitious goal.
Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences. IIE has committed $2 million of its own funds to this initiative over the next five years, while also actively raising funds for a Study Abroad Fund to provide scholarships to college and high school students and grants to institutions.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and eight foreign governments or national exchange agencies, as well as key higher education associations and study abroad provider organizations, have all pledged to support the goals of the initiative.
IIE News Release
March 3, 2014
Shamed and Shuttered U. of Northern Virginia Resurfaces, then Vanishes from S.D.
The University of Northern Virginia, an unaccredited institution that last year had its authority to operate in Virginia revoked for failing to make progress toward accreditation, resurfaced in February with a new campus in South Dakota, then weeks later disappeared again.
The university operated primarily to take advantage of loopholes in the student-visa system so it could make money off of foreign students. Agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security later raided the campus and last July the university’s home state revoked its authority to operate, forcing it to cease doing business in Virginia.
However, the Associated Press reported in February that the university had reemerged in South Dakota, although it wasn’t clear at the time what kind of courses it was planning to offer. It had reportedly received certification to operate in South Dakota under a state law that allows unaccredited institutions to do business if they have an agreement with an accredited partner. Northern Virginia apparently had such an agreement – with iGlobal, an online school – but it was canceled in December. The office of the state’s attorney general was investigating a complaint related to the institution. However, in early March all references to the South Dakota campus – actually an empty office suite – were removed from the institution’s website.
University of Northern Virginia’s status is unclear, and it’s not known if the school is offering any courses online or overseas. The university’s winter 2014 class schedule still says “Sioux Falls.”
February 28, 2014
U.S. Universities Top Latest Reputational Rankings
Results from the fifth annual Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings show that U.S. institutions of higher education continue to shine when it comes to peer prestige.
U.S. institutions dominate the top 10, as they have since the rankings began, with eight institutions (and 46 in the top 100). The UK is the only other nation represented in the top 10, with the University of Tokyo being edged out this year. Harvard retained its crown at the top, followed by MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, and Oxford.
Times Higher Education
March 5, 2014
SAT To Undergo Major Overhaul
Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced in March fundamental changes to the SAT, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong, cutting obscure vocabulary words, and making the essay optional.
To come into effect in 2016, the changes are extensive: The SAT’s obscure vocabulary challenges will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, like “empirical” and “synthesis.” The math questions, now scattered across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections.
The new exam will be available on paper and computer, and the scoring will revert to the old 1,600-point scale — from 2,400 — with top scores of 800 on math and 800 on what will now be called “evidence-based reading and writing.” The optional essay, which strong writers may choose to do, will have a separate score.
Once the pre-eminent college admissions exam, the SAT has lost ground to the ACT, which is based more directly on high school curriculums and is now taken by a slightly higher number of students. Last year, 1.8 million students took the ACT and 1.7 million the SAT.
The new SAT will not quell all criticism of standardized tests. Critics have long pointed out that high school grades are a better predictor of college success than standardized test scores. More colleges have in recent years become “test optional,” allowing students to forgo the exams and submit their grades, transcripts and perhaps a graded paper.
The New York Times
March 5, 2014
U Kansas Latest U.S. University to Sign On With Third Party ‘Pathway’ Provider
The university of Kansas has announced that it will be partnering with Massachusetts-based Shorelight Education to recruit international students into the university’s new Academic Accelerator (or ‘pathway’) program, set to begin in fall 2014.
The program will be a 12-month, three-semester program consisting of 30 hours of freshman-level academic courses, meant to introduce international students to Kansas and U.S. culture and college curriculum. It will combine courses from the College of Arts and Sciences with auxiliary language instruction from the Applied English Center. Successful students will be able to apply completed coursework to their undergraduate degree.
Shorelight, which recently announced similar ventures with Britain’s Bath Spa University, New York’s Fordham University and the University of Central Florida, will share tuition and fee revenue from the new accelerator program plus a small percentage of tuition as students progress through the university. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has created the academic curriculum in consultation with Shorelight, with courses in math, American studies, communication studies, social and natural studies, humanities and western civilization, and English. For KU International Programs, the KUAAP will be a third option for international students enrolling as undergraduates, who may also be admitted as freshmen or may enroll in the Applied English Center.
Kansas currently has an international enrollment of 2,200 students from 99 countries. The university hopes to eventually double its enrollments from overseas.
March 4, 2014
Memphis For-Profit University Shuts Down
Victory University, a for-profit institution in Memphis, is shutting down. Rumors have circulated about financial problems at the institution, which has 1,600 students.
Victory is a small liberal arts college. It has undergone name changes over the years: Mid-South Bible Center, Crichton College, and in 2012, it became Victory University after investors turned to a for-profit model. They expanded online classes, added athletics, and grew enrollment to almost 2,000 students at one point.
Victory students will be able to finish the semester, and the University of Memphis is holding a special registration for those Victory students wanting to enroll there.
Memphis Channel 3 News
March 6, 2014
Midwest Community Colleges Team Up to Attract Chinese Students
Ohio’s Terra State Community College has signed a letter of intent with the University of Toledo, four other regional community colleges and four Chinese vocational colleges for an initiative that could ultimately bring Chinese students to study and live on the college’s campus.
Through the University of Toledo Community College International Consortium, up to 20 Chinese students on joint degree programs would arrive on the Terra campus by the fall of 2017.
Terra signed the letter of intent in February, and the idea would be a Chinese student in the program would attend a Chinese vocational college in his or her first year of school, Terra or another participating community college in the program’s second year and the University of Toledo or a four-year school in the third and fourth years of the degree program.
In addition to Terra, Northwest State College, Owens Community College and two Michigan community colleges have reportedly expressed interest in the program.
February 27, 2014
Venezuela: Students Lead Protests Against Controversial University Policies
In recent weeks, Venezuela has been roiled by student-led protests, and there’s no end in sight, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. And while the focus has been on the violent crackdown, resulting in the death of 17 protesters – many students – and the virtual standoff between the country’s new president and the young demonstrators, higher-education policies are a key part of the discontent.
The Venezuelan youths are part of a wave of student-protest movements that have erupted in Latin America over the past few years, in Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Brazil, to demand greater government accountability and support for universities.
President Nicolás Maduro, who was narrowly elected in April after his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chávez, died of cancer, has vowed to continue his predecessor’s “Bolivarian Revolution,” which seeks to remake the South American nation along socialist lines. He blames the opposition for most of the violence, portraying the student protesters as “fascists” and “spoiled, rich kids.” He has the support of leftist governments in the region, as well as the main university-student federations in nearby Chile.
In reality, however, the two movements have much in common, according to The Chronicle. Both are demanding greater government support for higher education and university autonomy. And both have managed to rally large sectors of society in support of their cause. Many of the student protesters are motivated by specific university-related issues, such as soaring crime on campus, poor housing conditions at state universities, and decades of overdue pay for university professors.
The current standoff is the latest and bloodiest in more than a decade of student-led protests against the government and Chávez’s higher-education policies. Opponents, including faculty and administrators, accuse Chávez of attempting to transform Venezuela’s universities into ideological breeding grounds in support of the government.
Among Chávez’s controversial actions was the creation in 2003 of the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, which is free and has open admissions. Critics of the university, which now has some 150,000 students and campuses in seven states, ague that it is a propaganda factory for the government. Chávez also drastically increased enrollment at the army’s National Experimental Polytechnic University, which now has some 230,000 students.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 10, 2014